Back pain - causes and cures

I have spent the last month in some ugly pain down my right hip to my foot. It started when I was putting my canoe on the rack and hit a bush and stumbled. I made it much worse at Christmas by picking up a wheelbarrow full of firewood. I had reinjured an old disc injury between L4 and L5. After many nights of waking up at 4 am , and staying awake, and almost losing function in my right leg, I finally got an MRI and went to the pain Dr.In one visit the pain is 75% gone and I am relearning to walk on my right leg. Last night I walked my every night mile for the first time in a month . Wore me out, but it’s a start.

The advice:

  • If you have persistant pain from your lower back that goes below your knee, get to the Dr. ASAP.If it stops above the knee, it will probably get well with some ice packs and exercise.
  • DO NOT use heat on a back injury. It will make it worse. You can alternate cold and heat, but ice is your friend.
  • Avoid surgery any way you can. I had surgery 3 years ago and 3 months later had a major disc rupture.The pain Dr. says he often sees this.
  • Avoiding surgery. ASK for non-surgical treatment.A good surgeon will send you there first.For this type of problem, it is an injection of cortizone and pain killer at the nerve root.Takes about 30 minutes, and in my case ,immediately stopped the pain.It desensitises the nerve and muscles and helps the disc heal.
  • Of course, keep your back in shape with proper exercise.
  • And don’t get old.

    I am looking forward to paddling soon.Hope this helps someone.

work your abs
I hate ab work, but there is really no way around it. I think that the evidence supports that having strong abs is just as important as having strong back muscles.

I had Sciatica 10 years ago &
Ended having surgery to remove the L5 disc. I have never looked back (no pun intended) since. I accept however I had a good surgeon.

The need for surgery was due to the frequency of the attacks and the pain never quite going away.

I was told:

Excercise, swim or cycle (no jogging)

Good diet

Keep the weight off.

Learn how to pick up items correctly (use your legs not your back)

Never listen to a guy who suggests
a horse for a riding lawnmower.

also helps mitigate garden variety back pain like sciatica. Doesn’t fix anything per se, but more stretching means less compression in a given area. I managed to do some damage falling off of horses in my younger days and acquired a dandy problem with sciatica - to the point that I was walking sideways. Got it straightened out (literally) with a chiropractor and have kept it at bay since with strengthening and stretching work.

Haven’t found a way to avoid the getting older part yet…


Excersizes from school days

– Last Updated: Jan-15-05 10:37 PM EST –

Thinking back on daily gym class from elementary-jr high; its amazing that I can walk at all.

We did everything that you are not supposed to do. Leg lifts, windmills, unsupported sit ups, etc. It kept me in shape, but I have had some level of back problems my whole life.

As I have mentioned in other threads; using a single bladed paddle all day leaves my back in a horrible state. The constant forward bending is horrible on your lower back. The double paddle, with proper torso rotation, seems to work well for me. I can paddle to exhaustion without experiencing back pain with this technique. I'm curious if anyone else has come to this same conclusion.