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Hey all,

I am hoping that someone out there can offer some advice. Its been a tough winter. I woke up one morning back in Jan with intense back pain. Over the course of a week I couldn't get out of bed and had pain shooting down my leg (sciatica). To make a long story short after an MRI the doctor diagnosed the problem as a herniated disc in my lower back and recommended physical therapy. I am happy to say that I feel much better and the pain is almost gone. Now my thoughts turn to getting back to my normal activities including, of course, kayaking. Is there anyone else out there kayaking with a bad back? I could really use a good success story right now.

Thanks,

Steve
 

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what up, back pain

back pain kills specially in the morning for me, 2 compressed disc and 2 decaying verts i have super shitty back, i have these back strechs that i do every morning to loosen the lower back muscles, lay on back on floor and legs up on couch this actually streches me alot more than standing and bending over, lift your legs and straighten them, strecthes muscles from mid back to back of legs! i work on my abs alot more since i don't have the best back support, and not just abs make sure you are working your inner core! the best thing you can do to prevent from having the pain to were it takes your breath away is steching and proper conditioning, not every day is going to be 100 % so take it easy if your back is not feeling the best
 

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I herniated L5-S1 some time ago, required surgery ultimately, and was a year after that before I finally felt good to go. I do miss the vicodin, though...

Do your stretches, religiously. Where you're herniated, any seated position takes a lot of impact.

Two things I would recommend (one strongly) for your kayak:
Jackson Happy Seat (strongly recommend). This takes pressure off the lower back. I swear by it. I'm more comfortable in my boat, it seems to me, than a lot of people who haven't had back problems.

Jackson "Sweet Cheeks": I think this will assist with any impacts and help as a shock absorber". I'm not sure how much, but I have one in my Jackson SuperFun, and it's a very comfortable addition (I had one in my CR250 before that, and liked it a lot). But I don't think it's near as important as the Happy Seat.

Obviously a comfy back band is your friend, too.

Do your stretches religiously, whether you're boating or not.

Good luck, SYOTR
 

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I have the same story. I crashed skiing Jackson the next morning I had intensive back pain. My Doctor told me it was the L4/L5 and it was not so much the crash as deterioration that happened over time. He sent me to the physical therapist and I went to three sessions at $130 a pop.
I recognized all her exercises as yoga and palliates so I started doing yoga at the YMCA after six months of doing yoga 3-4 times per week I was back raging around on my skis and have no back pain kayaking. Dedication to rehab is the key.
David
 

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I too have had some back trouble. Though not a herniated disk. I tried Thai massage and it was great. I did not stretch like I should have this last winter and it really, really helped. Thai is having the therapist move you and stretch you out. If your back is well enough I would recommend it. his name is John Rasch (720)-470-7890 he lives in Lafayette. It was a good treat for a bad back. Good luck -ma
 

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Man, every athlete (I use that term loosely for boaters ;) , more like folks with addiction issues) in thier 30's are probably have these issue too. I just got my MRI for the same issue. I have a budging disc in my L1-L2 (probably from skiing, climbing, ? who knows) and some wear on my L5-S1. I am in the process to see a back specialist. I hear these issues are resolved by PT, strength training, yoga, etc. Avoid the knife. I will let you know how it goes. I was in my boat 2 weeks ago, ok in the boat, hurting afterwards. It was worst 2 months ago and I could cartwheel ok, not the best thing for it. If you find a good PT in Denver, shoot me thier info. Get healthy, summer is coming! As my buddy said, "heal, the river needs you!"
 

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I have a messed up disk, and have had sciatica. I had sciatica for about a year back in '98 and then again in '06. Both times getting cortisone injections in my spine helped me. I am not sure I am completely recovered again from the latest bout.

The good news is that I kept on kayaking throughout, and it seemed to not have a negative impact (although maybe I am in denial). In fact, the latest bout of sciatica pain seemed to go away after a trip to Ecuador with SWA this January.

So now I tell my wife that if my back starts acting up again that means I need another kayaing trip to Ecuador to help me recover.
 

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For the record, my hernia surgery DID work, though it took a year before I felt fully able to do all my outdoor activities (I probably shouldn't have been re-landscaping my yard 90 days after my surgery, I think that caused a setback).

Make up your own mind about surgery, to be sure, but mine worked and had immediate improvements (stopped having to take narcotic painkillers, much to my disappointment). But we waited 9 months before we went ahead with surgery, and went through PT, cortisone, and chiropracty first. I did not rush to the knife. When I needed 9 vicodin a day, that's when I said enough's enough... Did I mention I miss it?

From my experience and education on what is the worst aggravation to a L-series disk (especially L4-L5/L5-S1) - cycling and mountain biking by far. I can't mountain bike off-road more than two days in a row without having some sciatica, so I take it easy on that. I can paddle whenever I want, though.
 

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Let's see now we have PT, The knife, Yoga,Narc Drugs, Happy seats, cortisone injections and Tai massage. Hmmmmmmmmmmm i'll take the Drugs and the thai Massage
 

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If you have good insurance then I'd get surgery if a Dr. you trust recommends that as an option. I had spine surgery this winter and it is healing fine. If it continues to heal fine then I'll be returning to kayaking with no restrictions next year except that I'll probably take a few "todos" off of my list, like sack up and run Double Trouble. Every time I run Big South I'm thinking this is the day and then I see the drop and say what was I thinking I'm walking dude. I'll keep walking that one.

I imagine that your back is going to have a lot more power over your life than you are going to like unless you fix it for good. Once you do that, you can hit the gym hard and get ready to paddle the way you want to paddle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you everyone for all of the great feedback! The PT seems to be working for now but I'd really like to find a therapist in the Boulder area who a little more familair with sports medicine. Any recommendations? Also how long did the sciatica pain last for those who experienced it? I still feel a little twinge in my leg and foot. And lastly my roll was never the best but I'm curious how back pain has effected others. Does rolling aggravate it at all? Has anyone found a more back friendly roll alterative or technique?

thx
 

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low back

I had to start Cboating; C1 and OC1 easier on the back and more leverage.
1/2 the paddle, twice the ........ fun.
 
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