Would you believe us if we told you that North Palm Beach is almost 40 percent water? While the small Palm Beach County village has a total area of 5.8 square miles, only 3.6 of it is actually land. Nearly half of North Palm Beach is water, making it a hot spot among occupational and recreational fishers alike.
Unfortunately, it's rare to return from a day of fishing without one or two scratches or bruises. We often assume it's just the sharp hooks in our tackle box or a cast gone awry that could do some damage, but a day spent angling can often result in injury. Check out how a North Palm Beach chiropractor can help you maintain perfect fishing form.
A Slippery Situation for North Palm Beach
Fishing is a big part of the culture in North Palm Beach. Most of us do it for fun, and some of us do it as a means of income. Although many of us see it as a relaxing recreational activity, fishing is very much a physical activity and you can be injured if you don't take precaution.
Being around the water, the surface you're standing on is bound to become slippery. Whether you're on a wet boat deck or a wet dock, being near the water creates a slipping hazard. Not to mention wet shoes, slick rocks or grass, and forgotten lines can be incredibly dangerous. Depending on where and how hard you fall, a slip and fall could lead to a number of traumatic injuries:
- Spinal damage
- Cuts and bruises
- Strains and sprains
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Tight Lines Causing Sprains and Strains
In a six-year period, sprains and strains accounted for one-third of the injuries among anglers and fishing workers. Sprains are the stretching or tearing of a ligament, while strains are the stretching or tearing of a muscle. As we've already discussed, the trauma of a slip and fall or trip and fall can cause a sprain or strain.
However, if a fisher isn't in shape or overdoes it out on the water, sprains or strains can also occur. Stretching before casting out and having a daily routine of simple strengthening exercises can help to prevent these injuries.
Sidelined by Overuse Injuries
Typically, overuse injuries such as tendinitis or tears in the ligaments are thought to be restricted to athletes or those with repetitive physical occupations. However, overuse injuries are common among recreational and occupational fishermen (and fisherwomen).
Think about it: a day out on the water means you're constantly rehooking your bait, casting out, and waiting to feel a tug on your line. Once something bites, you're in a tug-of-war, reeling anywhere from a few minutes to almost a half hour (if your catch is of weight, otherwise, you may have just hooked a boot). An avid angler can develop a variety of overuse injuries, including:
- Tennis elbow
- Torn rotator cuff
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
A Chiropractor's Take: Maintaining Proper Fishing Form
At ChiroCare of North Palm Beach, quite a few of our staff members enjoy an afternoon well spent by the water. As certified physicians, we keep our bodies in fighting shape to ward off pesky fishing injuries. And when avid fishers come to our office for relief, we make sure to soothe any tight or torn muscles with a combination of chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, and electric stimulation.
A routine adjustment keeps the spine aligned, allowing you to keep the best form while casting. Likewise, a personalized stretching and fitness routine can keep you in the best shape, so as to not create overuse or sprain injuries by simply enjoying your day of fishing.
However, your fellow North Palm Beach fishermen have a few other tips:
- Take Advantage of the Waves: If you're out on the water, it's easy for the ocean to fight against you. Even if the fish you hooked isn't too big, wait for the boat to go up on a wave. Once at the top, then begin to quickly wind in. As the boat comes back down, it will also bring up your rod, saving your arms and back the trouble of pulling up a fighting fish against the swells.
- Mind Your Legs and Feet: The weight of your pole will pull your center of gravity forward. Staggering your feet allows for a more upright position that can more adequately support you as you hook a fish. Additionally, utilize the strength of your legs. Instead of pulling on the rod with your arms and back, bend your knees, then wind up as you straighten them. If the waves are not too big, sit back to counter the forward pulling force of the fish.
- Keep Your Back Straight: It's an instinct to bend forward with the force of the fish. Instead, try keeping your back straight and contract your core muscles - this will support your back and help prevent back pain the morning after.
- Follow the Prize: It's not uncommon for a hooked fish to zigzag around the boat. As opposed to standing stationary and rotating your hips to follow it, walk with the fish. This will give you more leverage and is less likely to cause you to suffer a sprain or strain.
Will you be heading out this weekend? Before you cast out, bear these tips in mind. To maintain your best fishing form, be sure to
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