Why Do You Get Back Pain from Water Skiing and What to Do

Why Do You Get Back Pain from Water Skiing and What to Do

Water skiing is a hard sport that requires a strong body. While skiing, you use almost every muscle in your body, from your feet and hips to your back and shoulders.

A skier needs to work out those muscles before hitting the water to ensure that their body is ready for the kind of exercise it is about to get. Even with a strong body, you must always expect injuries and know how to avoid and treat them if they happen.

Why do you get back pain from water skiing? You can get back pain from water skiing if you overuse and overstress your back muscles. Most of the movement required for skiing, such as turning and swiveling, depends on your core muscles. If your core muscles are weak, your back muscles will get over stressed and eventually cause you pain.

Back injuries are the most common injuries among water skiers. To protect yourself, you need to know why back injuries happen, how to avoid them, and what to do when they occur. Keep reading for all those answers.

Why Do You Get Back Pain from Water Skiing?

Do you know the expression ‘’carrying the weight of the world on your back’’? It doesn’t usually mean it literally, rather, it is about carrying responsibilities. However, when it comes to skiing, it is meant literally.

Your back is carrying you and all your right and wrong movements. But even your back has limits, and it’s game over when it reaches its limits. Or at least the game halted.

So what are your back’s limits? Here are several reasons why you might be feeling back pain from water skiing:

You overused your back muscles.

Water skiing relies on many different muscles in your body. For example, your back muscles help keep you stable and on the skis, while your core muscles help you with movements like turning around, which happens a lot.

But, when those core muscles are weak, your back will carry the weight. After some time of overusing your back muscles for two jobs, you are bound to experience back pains.

You made a wrong turn.

Water skiing requires a lot of turning and twisting, and sometimes wipeouts happen. You can make one hard turn, and your back muscles can get strained or your ligament sprained.

When you feel that pain, you must immediately stop, even though it might not hurt that much, skiing with the strained back muscle might result in worse consequences like tearing.

You fell really hard.

Water skiing can be a dangerous sport. A hard fall or a collision can cause severe damage to your back and spine. These types of injuries are usually called traumatic injuries.

A traumatic back injury will cause a lot more pain than a casual strain and might need surgical intervention. Even though they might happen to anyone, the more experienced you are, the more control you will have over your body to avoid such accidents.

You ignored an existing problem.

You might already have a back muscle problem or a spinal problem that you know or do not know about. Skiing with a weak or injured back will make you more vulnerable to accidents and worsen your back injury.

If the pain was faint before skiing, this kind of stress on your back would increase your pain afterward.

Is It Normal for Your Back to Hurt After Skiing?

General soreness is normal and even expected after a hard workout, and water skiing works out almost every single muscle on your body. So no matter how much you work out in the gym before you hit the water, you can expect to feel tired and sore after water skiing.

Your back carries a lot of responsibilities on the water, which will hurt a bit when you go to shore. Still, you need to know the difference between tiredness and an actual injury.

What to Do When You Get Back Pain from Water Skiing?

Suppose you have hit the water and got out feeling stiff or slight pain in your lowers back. In that case, there are multiple things you can try out before you decide to go to a chiropractor.

Here are some simple tips on how to treat your back after skiing:

  1. Try to limit physical movement for a few days. Sometimes your back muscles just need a break to get back in shape. Avoiding unnecessary movements and relaxing your back can help the pain fade away.
  2. Take an ice bath. Applying ice to strained muscles is a well know way to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Do that for 48 to 72 hours, then switch to a heated bath or towel wrapped around your back. The heat will help with stiffness and muscle sprains.
  3. Take pain-relief medication. Over-the-counter pain medication like Advil or Tylenol can help reduce back pain while it heals. However, make sure you take the recommended dose only and do not overuse it. If the pain still persists, then the injury is bad.
  4. Visit a chiropractor or a doctor. If the pain persists over several days despite all the previous tips, then you need to be examined by a professional. Get scans on your back and see whether you need a doctor’s intervention or maybe some help from a chiropractor.

How to Prevent Back Pain from Happening in the Future?

As they say, “prevention is better than cure.” Knowing how to treat your back pain is very important, but since you know why you get them in the first place, it makes more sense to work on avoiding them altogether.

  1. Learn proper skiing techniques. A lot of the time, back injuries happen because the skier is just doing it wrong. So take the time to learn all the basics of water skiing techniques before you hit the water.
  2. Stretch before you hit the water. No matter how excited you are, take the time to do some stretching before you ride your skis. You don’t want to shock your back muscles with the stress of water skiing without easing it in first. Stretching helps relax your muscles and refresh your flexibility.
  3. Strengthen your core muscles. Weak core muscles mean your back will take on extra stress while skiing. Work out your core muscles to make them strong enough to carry you through the twists and turns of skiing. When your core muscles do their job properly, your back will not be overused or over stress, preventing a lot of back pains and injuries.


As long as you are a water skier, you can expect some level of back pain at all times. But casual pains and tiredness after a hard workout are expected and normal.

The problem is with pain that occurs due to errors in technique or accidents, so make sure you get checked out by a doctor routinely to catch injuries in their prime and avoid complications. We hope you have a fun and safe time on the water!

Related Questions

Does Water Skiing Hurt Your Back?

Water skiing can hurt your back due to the stress it puts on your back muscles. Your back is responsible for keeping you balanced and stable on the skis; this stress can cause back pains. Back injuries will only happen if mistakes are made while skiing but not from casual skiing.

Does Water Skiing Make You Sore?

Water skiing will cause general soreness in your body, just like any other sport. The less you water ski, the stiffer you will be every time you go back to it, and the more sore your body will get after the event. General soreness is expected and can be treated by breaks and cold baths.

Is Water Skiing Bad for Your Back?

Water skiing is not inherently bad for your back. You should be fine if you know what you are doing and do all the necessary workouts. You can get back injuries when water skiing, but that also applies to any other sport. There is no special relation between water skiing and back pains.

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