× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Lower Back Pain

6 years 1 month ago #24582 by robin.mousley
I'm currently experiencing lower back pain when I get up in the morning.

After ten minutes or so of moving about, it gets less and within 30min or so I can't really feel it.

It doesn't seem to become worse in the boat - and I did a 17km paddle on Saturday and a fairly hectic (30-35kt plus big seas) downwind on Sunday.

I can't pinpoint a moment when it started - it just came on a couple of weeks ago.

Does anyone else have similar pains, and if so, are there any exercises that one should be doing to support one's lower back?

I found this:

Lower Back Pain Solution for Kayakers

Has anyone tried this sort of thing? Any comments?

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Uffilation

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6 years 1 month ago #24583 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Lower Back Pain
I can't decide whether to add more fresh ginger or more ground ginger to my ginger biscuits. They don't seem to make me paddle any faster but they sure taste good. Anyone got any suggestions?

Or can someone tell me why my car goes clunk around left hand corners? Whether my ski is on the roof or not. Something to do with the universal joints?

Honestly Robin! You have overtly stated there is no obvious connection of your back pain with paddling. What on earth are you asking a bunch of paddlers for??? I'm a paddler and a doctor and I can tell you from the information you have given us, I could give you 15 different answers without drawing breath.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7
The following user(s) said Thank You: YBA/Jim Murray

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6 years 1 month ago #24584 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Lower Back Pain
Ok, ok, I feel properly smacked.

You're right, dumb question, I'll go seek advice...

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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6 years 1 month ago #24586 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Lower Back Pain
Do you spend too much time sitting during the day? Is your bed too soft or too hard? I get back pain in one of our beds, fine in the other. My wife likes both, I guess my back is less flexible with age and likes the bed just right... Exercises help, no question. But proper posture during activities and rest are even more important.

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #24587 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Lower Back Pain
I used to get tight hips (or perhaps lower back?) from paddling, wouldn't feel it so much paddling I guess cause your moving but afterwards and mornings etc. I read somewhere that the powerful legs and paddling could overload the small muscles in this area (I read it so it must be true right?).

I remember being taught that you should use the thoracic spine for your rotation and the lumbar should be stable, so perhaps poor technique could be a factor.

Posture of course as others have said, I know mine can be bad when on computer if I'm not careful.

Anyway I started cycling again which I found really loosened everything up and feeling good, got a bit carried away and am now more of a cyclist than a paddler these days :laugh:

So perhaps try going for a nice hour long cycle 3-4 times a week and see if it it helps, really made me feel good.

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #24588 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Lower Back Pain
Rob,
If you have made it this far without back pain, I'd say your pretty lucky!
For me, paddling seems to be a savior for my lower back. I'd guess it's from strengthening core muscles?
My issue is my upper back and neck. 45+ years of surfing, 40 years of physical labor plus injuries have taken a toll. Pretty severe arthritis. Doctors pretty much say nothing they can due and have to live with chronic pain. Had quite a back episode this weekend but still managed to get out for an hour Sunday, couldn't resist, and caught one of my sickest waves ever on my ski. Caught one from way outside on a real lumpy day with good size, (short interval wind swell 6'-8'), and didn't realize how big it was till it reformed on the inside and the bottom of the wave dropped out underneath me. I leaned way back and managed not to pearl. When I got to the beach, I stood there with my ski thinking "Dam, am I even going to be able to make it back out, the waves are big and close together?". Made it out ok, but, decided not to chance it and headed back to the harbor.
Thank goodness for cold beer and modern pain medications! :cheer:
Oh yeah! And my hot tub.

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6 years 1 month ago #24589 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Lower Back Pain
No idea about your back pain Rob, but Marieski, I think you need to replace your left CV joint.

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6 years 1 month ago #24591 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Lower Back Pain
If you sleep on your back you could try a pillow under your knees to reduce pressure on lower back.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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6 years 1 month ago #24593 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Lower Back Pain
Thanks for the suggestions.... I'm off to see my tame physio tomorrow, so we'll see what she has to say.

(She's a paddling physio, so she has a good understanding of what we do.)

I'll report back!

To answer some of the questions:
  • I sleep mostly on my side.
  • I work at a desk all day... My chair was set up by a physio so it should be at the right height, etc.
  • I do rotation exercises before rolling out of bed, to try to loosen my lower back
  • I was doing core work at gym up until 3 weeks ago...

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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6 years 1 month ago #24595 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic Lower Back Pain

I can't pinpoint a moment when it started - it just came on a couple of weeks ago.


I was doing core work at gym up until 3 weeks ago...


downwind dilettante

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6 years 1 month ago #24596 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Lower Back Pain
There are a lot of things one can do in order to improve things a bit - at least with lower back pain. One, a few, or none of the following may help YOU:
1. Place a pillow between your two knees when sleeping on your side.
2. Stretch (gently) for at least 20 min before going to bed… repeat when you get up.
3. Did you change boat, paddle, or paddle length ?
4. Try including another sport for your "training ritual" - like swimming. Pretty hard to get hurt while swimming… yet too few people do it.
5. Chairs force our wonderful spine to sag. Can you avoid sitting down ? (as in a stand up station)
6. When sitting, try forcing yourself to sit up straight. (easier said than done).
7. Try a paddle two-sizes-down… this will make you paddle with more RPM, but less "stress" on your back on the long run.
8. Eat some of the best foods you can.
9. Drink more (hummm… WATER!)

Lower back pain has got to go… Hope you feel better soon.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 1 month ago #24597 by Love2ski
Replied by Love2ski on topic Lower Back Pain
I have a bad lower back with blown discs etc. I have found that I have had to really focus on my paddling technique to ensure my rotation is not focussed on my lower back. I am doing lots of work on leg rotation to reduce the twisting in my lower back. In particular I am starting to lift the buttock that is opposite the stroke out of the seat to really create the rotation. This is probably not fast but it is allowing me to paddle without injury to my back.

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6 years 1 month ago #24598 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Lower Back Pain
I'll just add that a couple of years ago as a purely ski paddler there's no way I would consider paddling races over 30km as my lower back used to seize up and become painful.

Since taking up kayaking and now doing around 50/50 ski paddling and kayaking and probably more importantly doing all my long paddling in a kayak back pain during long paddles is largely gone. Much to my delight I was able to get through the 2 day, 124km Avon Descent with no back issues.

I think a lot of it has to do with a more ergonomic seating position in a kayak putting less strain on hamstrings/glutes/lower back.

Also in my ski when racing I often put some shampoo in the bucket to help my butt slip easier, this really helps with hip rotation and leg drive reducing pressure on the lower back.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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6 years 1 month ago #24600 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Lower Back Pain
i would get a good ergonomic pillow (eg Tempur) and turn over or change the mattress, I had referred pain in the lower bag from a bad pillow and the neck not being aligned with the rest of the spine whilst sleeping. of course seat height and footwell location need to be comfortable too

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #24604 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Lower Back Pain
Had my biannual visit to my GP doctor today and asked him about my back pain. He said that if I don't have numbness or tingling in my extremities, (I do not), that it is muscular inflammation. Recommended treatment is maximum dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs for a minimum of four days, hot/cold applications to affected area, stretching and physical therapy. He prescribed me Gabapentin and at my request Soma. An anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer. I'm getting pretty desperate. Think I need to become a "Yogi".
He highly recommends ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory.
I have had noticeable relief from a Chinese acupuncture doctor, but,
had no noticeable pain relief from a couple of other so called acupuncturist. I have a hot tub I use EVERYDAY! and highly recommend it. I start having withdrawals when it stops working. Nothing better than coming home from a big cold downwinder (or surfing) and settling into my hot tub in my paddling garb with a cold brew. :P The other place that I have found incredible relief
is laying about on a sizzling hot sand beach, just seems to suck the pain right out! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
For a side note, I have a mate who was suffering from lower back pain and thought he could work it out through exercise, stretching, swimming, etc. He aggravated his condition to the point of being immobile and requiring surgery. So be careful and get good diagnosis.
Rob, I hope your condition is minor and can be treated with physical therapy etc...
Good luck! Captain Kirk.

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #24606 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Lower Back Pain
"Had my biannual visit to my GP doctor today and asked him about my back pain. He said that if I don't have numbness or tingling in my extremities, (I do not), that it is muscular inflammation."

I'd be careful there. I've had bad back pain, to a point where I could not walk - literally, I had to crawl to the bathroom in excruciating pain. No tingling and no numbness in extremities at all. I've had similar but less severe recurrences a few times since. I know what my condition is due to, and it sure isn't only muscle irritation (or if it is, it does not feel like it and does *not* get better with certain exercises/stretching - on the contrary).

Every back pain is different - make sure there is a proper diagnosis, which unfortunately is often difficult to do.

For *my* backpain, I have this underlying condition that weakens my back in two places (bottom and upper back) to the same effect - if I do too much twisting paddling or exercising, or spend long hours slumped in a chair, or dig a big trench/lift heavy objects for a long time during the day: it irritates my back and hurts for a few days afterwards. Walking, extra sleep time, careful forward stretches without compressing the disks, gentle relaxing small-amplitude movements on the back, no heavy lifting, and a good posture is how I get over it. And strengthening the back when it is in good condition I've noticed really minimizes the chances that the pain would come back: I can do more sitting and more digging and more lifting and more paddling ;) without the pain coming back. But I feel it is lurking there, because my specific condition will not go away and will always be a factor that will limit what I can do with my back.

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6 years 1 month ago #24607 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Lower Back Pain
Thought this video has some good info.

www.spine-health.com/video/causes-back-muscle-spasms-video

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6 years 1 month ago #24702 by BELINDA777
Replied by BELINDA777 on topic Lower Back Pain
I found some skis will cause back pain eventually due to where your feet are and seating position...youre paddling fine and then one day your back starts complaining. I can't paddle Fenn skis due to this issue...definitely need to find a boat perfect for you. Tight Hamstrings have A LOT to do with lower back pain, stretch these constantly especially before and after a paddle. Also look into your Psoas... This is also a major culprit... Google it... An eye opener.
And to the poster with the Ginger biscuits... I'm glad you're not MY doctor!

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6 years 1 month ago #24707 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic Lower Back Pain
Cross-training seems to really help in maintaining a strong back. As Kayaker Greg noted, I've found that cycling helped me a lot when my back was giving me some issues about 15 years ago. Switching off between surf ski and outrigger canoe seems to help a lot as well.

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6 years 1 week ago - 6 years 6 days ago #24928 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Lower Back Pain
Pain in the morning (esp. getting worse when lying in bed an hour longer, e.g. on the weekends) which then disappears after a while (getting upright and moving) seems to be a typical indicator to have the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) checked. There are exercises for getting the SIJ in order again, but nothing replaces a dyagnosis by one/some professional(s).

Also had lower back problems in the mornings this summer and I first feared it was a slipped disc issue, but it turned out to be the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) > leg drive/hip rotation stressing that joint? Seating position too low? My paddling/torso twist looked crappy for weeks and I played arround with padding to get a "better=higher" seating position, which improved power+rotation a bit, but paddling still looked crappy and did not feel as smooth anymore and stiff in the back. It seemed that padding alone was no cure to the cause.

Acc. to "google" also hormonal changes can lead to SIJ dysfunction, e.g. when being pregnant or being a man in his mid 40s(+X) and the SIJ is gets soaked with "plasticizers".

The other problem that accompanied my SIJ-probs where too tight hamstrings, myofascial release exercises got them "longer" again and that really changed a lot. So was it really the seating position alone being too low? No, those hamstrings were too tight, too. So I can confirm what was written above by belinda777. What helped were exercises like
> youtube > "Fix Tight Hamstrings - Myofascial Release - When stretches for hamstrings dont work" (from 5 mins) and cycling (as said by redpepper) and mountain hiking.

--- Side note:
Also, I had a positive experience with Soma-therapy following the school of Dr. Bill Williams for myofascial release a couple of years ago (had probelms in the calves from hiking and upper/lower back problems from office job), but as in any occupation, not every therapist/doctor has a "talent" for his job, so finding a good one that pinpoints the origin and has the right cure could turn into an oddyssey. Note: I started paddling 3 years ago (+30 years too late, if I only could turn back time...) > paddling ended 26 years of reoccurring upper back pain almost instantly (after the first 1h of paddling I felt that long wanted relief which I tried to achieve with so many methods or the years). And as things happen ... you start in a kayak and end up in a surfski turning into pure addiction.

I am not a doctor of course, so this is no advice, just my experience with my probs, which are now gone but which is obviously not representative for others.

@Rob, did you figure out what caused your probs.?

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