Lower back pain on one side

A lot of my long kayak trips lately have been made rather uncomfortable due to some strange lower back pain. It only happens on my left side, sort of just over my left kidney. And it hurts most when I’m pulling the paddle through the water on my right side. Could something in my stroke be throwing things out of wack?

Could be…
… anything. Start with the outfitting.

Got pictures of you cockpit? What boat/seat/back band/etc? Everything adjusted to same length both sides. Band or seat cutting into you on that side. Very minor things you don’t notice getting in can add up over a paddle.

I’m not a doc…
but lower back pain on one side is not uncommon and is often caused by a strained (or worse) disc. You may want to talk to your doc to determine what the problem is before you try to remedy it with a change in outfitting or stroke.

Does your back bother you during the other parts of your daily life or ony after paddling your yak?

I feel your pain (no pun intended) as I too deal with lower back issues and like you they are concentrated on one side. I resolved that issue for myself by changing boat styles and moving to a kneeling position.

However it works out… you have my best wishes.

I’m pretty sure it’s a muscle issue and not anything relating to the spine itself. Like I said the pain develops well off to the left, almost to the side of my torso. Maybe I’m just getting old.

But I play one on TV…
I’m no doc either, but I would guess you’re sitting with more weight on one side or you’re driving too hard on one side. At any rate, I have one word for you: Ibuprofen. A few days of it fixes almost any soft-tissue injury for me.

My experience
when I got into touring kayaking was that my right leg and a portion of my back would ache like the dickens. I have lost some weight since then, and have been working on my flexability and my technique (rotation! rotation! rotation!). I have also found that having a generously sized 1/2 inch seat pad helps, but the real success story is an inflatable cushion under my thighs. I recently experimented with the cushion partially deflated, and the old pain returned in less than 15 minutes. You might also chack into a spinal alignment.

Good luck! Jim

I have had exactly the same problem

– Last Updated: Jun-07-04 12:55 PM EST –

in the same spot for a month. My diagnosis is pulled muscle. The best thing I've done for it is paddle with as much rotation as I could stand over the weekend. Hurt like hell, esp. in the canoe but seems much better today.That is probably not anyone's recommended therapy, but I was determined to paddle and didn't regret it - much.
Did I mention the 2 muscle relaxers and ibuprofen?

Anecdotal evidence
My back often feels better after a moderate day of paddling and “rotational therapy”. Of course, I often loose whatever I gained when I load the boat on my car!