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nhc
February 19th, 2011, 10:07 PM
Regular swimmers are supposed to have good posture. Does that make it less important for swimmers to use mattresses and chairs with good back support to avoid back pain/injuries? (as an exaggeration, if you do backstroke 4 hours a day, you are on a high-quality "mattress" 4 hours a day:bed: and methinks it's unlikely you would develop back problem due to bad mattress :D)

analazy
February 20th, 2011, 03:05 AM
Former swimmers tend to have Upper Crossed Syndrome and some active also…

http://www.tri-club.com/effect-upper-crossed-syndrome-freestyle-swim-efficiency
Upper Crossed Syndrome
”While the term "upper crossed syndrome" might be unfamiliar to people outside the medical or rehabilitation communities, the look is unmistakable in both athletes and non-athletes: hunched back, rounded shoulders, forward head position, and tensed neck (and those are just the visual clues!). Through a process called reciprocal inhibition, shortening in certain muscle groups leads to a corresponding weakness in other groups…..”

http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Avoid_upper_cross_syndrome_and_maintain_rotator_cu ff_stability.htm (http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Avoid_upper_cross_syndrome_and_maintain_rotator_cu ff_stability.htm)
What is upper cross syndrome?
Although you may not be familiar with the term upper cross syndrome (UCS) you've probably seen it. All of us have seen that little old lady who's standing up, but appears to be falling over; her head shifted forward, shoulders rounded, and her upper back between the shoulder blades looks like the head of a cobra poised to strike.
Now, just so you don't think we're picking on the elderly, the same condition can exist in the young. Picture the gym rat that does 10 sets of 10 with 225 lbs, three days a week, year after year. Eventually he too will develop the same condition as the little old lady.
Both examples are a result of muscular imbalances between the flexors and extensors of the upper torso and regardless of age, if you suffer from these imbalances you'll have a higher risk of injury and will be less efficient in your training and racing.

Lump
February 20th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Great question and I'm glad you posted this...perfect timing. I have Spondylosis in my lower back (stress fracture, degenerative) that I developed in my last couple years of college swimming. Now it REALLY can get to me at times and my (our, wife and me) mattress is like 16-17 years old (please no jokes) and my back is literally killing me a lot of mornings. Its way to soft and is having pressure points from the springs. We just got our tax return and a new mattress is in the cross hairs.

Its also getting to the point where I sleep on my side in the fetal position and wake up with sore hips and shoulders some mornings. I don't want to spend a fortune but its really hard to put a price on quality sleep!:bed:

EJB190
February 20th, 2011, 08:32 PM
Former swimmers tend to have Upper Crossed Syndrome and some active also…

http://www.tri-club.com/effect-upper-crossed-syndrome-freestyle-swim-efficiency
Upper Crossed Syndrome
”While the term "upper crossed syndrome" might be unfamiliar to people outside the medical or rehabilitation communities, the look is unmistakable in both athletes and non-athletes: hunched back, rounded shoulders, forward head position, and tensed neck (and those are just the visual clues!). Through a process called reciprocal inhibition, shortening in certain muscle groups leads to a corresponding weakness in other groups…..”

At the age of 20 I've had back issues for the past 4-5 years despite swimming, although swimming in some cases does make my back feel better.

I actually am currently being treated for what you call upper crossed syndrome (in addition to a whole world of other back and hip issues). Swimming definitely wraps a ton of tension into my upper back muscles making them extremely tight. Until a couple ago, I literally could not keep my upper back straight, and the doctor couldn't even push it into the correct position. I fudged 3 sets of x-rays because I couldn't stay in the right position haha. I got some injections in my back and I'm feeling a lot better, I can actually stand straight, and I am about an inch taller. I can already feel myself getting tighter again though.

I'm really sensitive to the bed I sleep on. At home I have an amazing queen size Sealy Posturepedic memory foam pillow top mattress (really high quality, really expensive bed). In my apartment at school I have a lower end Serta that definitely does not feel quite as good in the morning after a nights sleep. I really wish I had invested more in the bed for my apartment but they're just so expensive ($600 I guess isn't enough). The Serta, however, is 50x better than my dorm room bed last year which felt like i was sleeping on a life raft with a hole in the middle of it.

My parents home office has a Herman Miller Aeron Chair which is absolutely phenomenal. You can sit in it for hours and feel like you just sat down. Unfortunately, I don't have $800 to drop on a chair so I get by with my $99 chair from Staples which works fine.

I think preventative back health is often ignored because it can be a lot of work and can be expensive. For me, I definitely think having a good bed and chair is important. Sleeping on a crappy bed makes a world of difference the next morning. That said, swimming usually makes me feel better.

I actually think the majority of swimmers (i.e. not me) have healthy backs which would be more tolerant of lower quality chairs/beds when compared to other athletes or nonathletes.

aquageek
February 21st, 2011, 10:02 AM
Great question and I'm glad you posted this...perfect timing. I have Spondylosis in my lower back (stress fracture, degenerative) that I developed in my last couple years of college swimming. Now it REALLY can get to me at times and my (our, wife and me) mattress is like 16-17 years old (please no jokes) and my back is literally killing me a lot of mornings. Its way to soft and is having pressure points from the springs. We just got our tax return and a new mattress is in the cross hairs.

Its also getting to the point where I sleep on my side in the fetal position and wake up with sore hips and shoulders some mornings. I don't want to spend a fortune but its really hard to put a price on quality sleep!:bed:

I had the same issues last year and did some asking around. I got two consistent answers on beds that would change your life - Tempurpedic and Sleep Number.

The Sleep Number seems complicated with dialing up numbers and whatnot. So, we bought a Tempurpedic. It is expensive but it is 100% worth it. I haven't slept this good in years and years. Go get one, today, now. I thought people who bought Tempurpedic beds were in a cult cause they all go into a trance-like state when talking about it. But, I'm a firm member of the cult now.

nhc
February 21st, 2011, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the replies. So sorry to know some of you have painful back problems. The tri-blub article is very interesting. It seems they were all talking about how injuries like UCS could affect swimming, or swimming improperly may worsen the condition; in other words, it's about someone who has already developed the condition perhaps before taking up swimming?


I have Spondylosis in my lower back (stress fracture, degenerative) that I developed in my last couple years of college swimming.

Do you mean it was caused by swimming, or just happened to be developed during the years of college swimming? Do you think it would have been worse had you stopped swimming?


My parents home office has a Herman Miller Aeron Chair which is absolutely phenomenal. You can sit in it for hours and feel like you just sat down.

See, here is a problem with good chairs: you would sit in it for hours and spend less time swimming. :)

Lump
February 21st, 2011, 09:43 PM
Do you mean it was caused by swimming, or just happened to be developed during the years of college swimming? Do you think it would have been worse had you stopped swimming?



I don't think so. I believe it to be more a degenerative condition that is maybe inherited. I didn't find out about it until my Junior year when I started having weakness in my back doing flip turns (I was a distance swimmer) in practices. X-rays and MRI showed the condition in the L5 (if I remember right). Options are rest (if it hurts stop doing that!) or surgery with no promises. I always opt for the first choice. It really did end up bugging me and pretty much ending a productive finish to my college career.

Then I played Rugby for 5-years...which was the WORSE thing I could have done. Played softball, mountain bike, lift weights, get fat and old.

So its now part of the reason WHY I'm back in the pool. Sure it bugs me, but not nearly as much if was a couch spud!

Massage, Advil, Chiropractors get me through....when I can do it.

Charge
February 22nd, 2011, 08:31 AM
Well, I bought a tempurpedic and it was easily the best 2500 I ever spent. I had to finance it, but it was worth it. My back and neck never hurt when I wake up no matter what position I sleep in. The sleep warm, so that is something to consider. They also come in different densities and firmness levels, so take your time picking it out.

ElaineK
February 22nd, 2011, 12:04 PM
Well, I bought a tempurpedic and it was easily the best 2500 I ever spent. I had to finance it, but it was worth it. My back and neck never hurt when I wake up no matter what position I sleep in. The sleep warm, so that is something to consider. They also come in different densities and firmness levels, so take your time picking it out.

We have been using a memory foam mattress topper that we bought at Costco. Although our mattress is a good one and is still in fine shape, we purchased it 8 years ago, before the pillow top option was available. So, adding the topper seemed like a good idea. It IS comfortable, but does anybody know whether this combo works as well as the full memory foam mattress, such as the Tempurpedic? We have our mattress and topper on top of a platform, rather than box spring.

EJB190
February 22nd, 2011, 01:24 PM
We have been using a memory foam mattress topper that we bought at Costco. Although our mattress is a good one and is still in fine shape, we purchased it 8 years ago, before the pillow top option was available. So, adding the topper seemed like a good idea. It IS comfortable, but does anybody know whether this combo works as well as the full memory foam mattress, such as the Tempurpedic? We have our mattress and topper on top of a platform, rather than box spring.

According to the mattress store people (let me preface this by saying I do not trust mattress salesmen/woman at all), the tempurpedic foam is patented and the knock off brand and toppers are not made out of the same material. They say that after 6 months to a year the fake tempur foam begins to crush and therefore becomes less effective (I guess it loses its memory- hah). They recommend either buying the real tempurpedic or otherwise a regular mattress because the fake ones do not hold up. I'm not sure however how this translates into the comparison of comfort level and the ergonomics of it all.

ElaineK
February 22nd, 2011, 02:07 PM
According to the mattress store people (let me preface this by saying I do not trust mattress salesmen/woman at all), the tempurpedic foam is patented and the knock off brand and toppers are not made out of the same material. They say that after 6 months to a year the fake tempur foam begins to crush and therefore becomes less effective (I guess it loses its memory- hah). They recommend either buying the real tempurpedic or otherwise a regular mattress because the fake ones do not hold up. I'm not sure however how this translates into the comparison of comfort level and the ergonomics of it all.

Thank, Eric; I appreciate the info.!

slowfish
September 10th, 2012, 07:06 PM
I posted on the "shoulder pain" thread. I decided that it may be my mattress that was causing the problem so i googled "swimming mattress" and lo and behold i find this thread. Upper cross syndrome fits. I sit on my tush all day in front of computer. thanks much for that link!