Will kayaking cause back issues?

Abs should be supporting torso
If you are sitting up instead of leaning against a backband, your abs will take some of the load off your back. It’s better for your stroke, too.

I have an unstable vertebra that a PT identified 5 yrs ago. With exercises, the intermittent back pain (intermittent because the vertebra intermittently went out of whack) went away. I still do the exercises every day. No known cause for it…might have been born that way.

Just what i was looking for.

Aout those hammies…mine are as tight as a banjo string which has me beleiving the post that suggested they go hand and hand.

I started a pilate and core strength workout just today.

No direct relationship.
For any individual, the nature of the injury has more to do with it and the way we move or use our back.

Kayaking might cause some irritation. Almost bound to, even if you never had a bad back. You will experience some tenderness with any new activity.

Unless a doctor tells you specifically to NOT kayak, I would put together a plan to start kayaking. Gently ease yourself into the hobby.

ANYTIME you are building your strength and flexibility in your back, you are doing yourself good. No matter what excercise it may be. Unless you have fused disks requiring limited mobility, you can almost guarantee you will increase your strength and thereby, eventually reduce pain.

Overdoing it will aggravate things. It is the overdoing, not the kayaking. You can pretty much put the effort you wish into it. Take it easy, work it up, trips to the doc or chiro will soon be unneccesary.

As above, loading and unloading and perhaps getting in and out will be where you put the greatest force on your back. I am assuming here we are talking lake and pond or gentle stream paddling. If you have a permanent back injury, paddling off a cliff is probably not a good idea no matter how good you become.

kayaking will cause back pocket issues

Sounds like
he’s hooking you up to be a good repeat customer

( i haven’t a clue, it’s wild speculation, and I’m feeling pessimistic)

use your core

– Last Updated: Jan-18-08 11:59 PM EST –

when you paddle you must drive footpegs. torso rotation without pushing footpegs causes momentum of stroke to be transfered to boat through back and butt. this will give anyone a sore back. push right footpeg as you stroke on right,

Paddling your chiropractor
will not cause any back pain.

Was that the question?

Oh, sorry.

My wife does the chiropractor thing and her first paddle was about 4 miles without a problem.

I’m sure it’s highly dependent on you particular problems and the amount of exertion. Proper technique makes a big difference and you may need to start with short trips to see how it affects you and to build up the “core” muscles.

I would guess that narrower boats help too (< 28 inches).


Back issues - relief
I’ve been doing the Elaine Petrone Method stretches with the stupid little ball. It seems rediculus that a little ball like this would work, but when you are having trouble sitting for more than 45 minutes at a time you will try anything.

Well the little ball works wonders, and recently I paddled my kayak for 3 hours without being crippled for 3 days afterwards!

2 little balls and the dvd are the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time!

The Boat Matters
Never had a back issue in any boat…

until I got in the front of my buddy’s tandem. It was like some torture device.

Go to a real doctor.
The people on this board can’t diagnosis your problem. Kayaking has been known to make some back problems worse, but for most folks that really get into it, the development of muscles, and keeping your self more flexible actually help with minor back issues. Learning to sit correctly will have a large impact. Your quack probably only sees the occaisional rec kayaker who has no clue how to sit, paddle, or lift and carry their boat.

If you are having problems visiting a orthopedic MD who specializes in sports medicine will be worth many visits to a CHiro who is treating you by placebo effect.

Kayaking is good for the back.
Especially if you use proper paddling technique. I took up kayaking due to a serious leg injury. My PT guy suggested I try paddling. He also put a guy who had L4-L5 fusion surgery in a kayak for lower back strengthening.

It works. In fact, I have felt the best I have felt in 5 years since I gave up the gym and circuit machines in favor of the kayak.

FWIW, it’s helped me
As an avid cyclist, I developed long quads, short hamstrings, strong back muscles, but weak abs and low overall core strength. This imbalance caused me back problems for years. I took up paddling as a complimentary “upper body” sport (hey, I didn’t know any better), without realizing that it would also be beneficial core and back exercise.

I’ve actually found the most benefit from Greenland technique, which uses straight legs and emphasizes the abs more than the hip flexors. While it definitely DOES take some getting used to, the benefits are stronger abs and longer hamstrings, which pretty much eliminated the back problems I had. It may not work for everyone, but it has helped me considerably.

Since I’ve been paddling less and riding more over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that my back has been bothering me more. It’s time to get back in the boat more often!

paddling strains back?
I think this depends a lot on stroke style. Epic Kayaks’ website, surfski.info, and some racing oriented websites have good advice on stroke. Almost always, a strain, or pain says something is wrong with stroke or seating. So, sit upright, don’t lean forward when reaching, just stretch your arms forward. Padding the seat up a bit should help, although at the expense of stability. Leg drive helps, but this is not possible with most sea kayaks. Sitting up straight, and keeping the torso locked should eliminate most, if not all lower back strain.

Will kayaking cause back issues?
I have had back problems on and off for more than 30 years, running, bicycling and swimming.

I find that kayaking actually helps my back, but I find that posture and techique is important. Straight back and use of torso seems to be the keys. If I don’t sit up straight my back will start complaining. With proper posture I have paddled for 6 hours with only minor aches at the end.


I checked with my dr…
Before we bought kayaks my husband insisted that I check with my dr. because I have a problem with 2 disks in my lower back. He told me that kayaking would actually help by strengthening the muscles in my torso! It’s been 6 years, and I have paddled up to 12 miles at a time, and can honestly say that it has never caused an issue with my back. Don’t just give up on the idea because of what the chiropractor said, check with your dr…Happy paddling!

back problems
If you have been properly fitted in your kayak, and you are still having back problems, it should be investigated by a professional, whether it be a chiropractor, orthopedist, osteopath. We all offer a different slice of the pie (one does not replace another professional). Trainers, massage therapists, physical therapists and acupuncturists should be included in the back patient’s “team”, as well.

I hope this kayak forum doesn’t devolve into slamming people’s professions instead of offering advice.

Steve, a doc who paddles.

back problems
Your chiropractor is not well-informed about the mechanics of kayaking. As a chiropractor, who has paddled for over 10 years, I feel it is a great exercise for the back if done properly. Even if we just sit still in chopppy water, the balancing act our spines do to keep us upright is a wonderful proprioceptive exercise. Steve

I bet more folks have hurt themselves lifting and twisting with a 70lb kayak than sitting and paddling a 2 lb paddle.

It isn’t necessarily the paddling
I have minor back issues compared to many above, but a few old injuries that return with a vengence once in a while. For me, the chiro works very well . I walk in limping and walk out erect, albeit not always fully pain-free until sleeping on the fix for a night or two.

I’d agree with anyone who said that lifting boats was a hell of a risk point.

However, I can’t say that just paddling helps or hurts the back. What I could agree with is that the core strengthening and flexibility work that many undergo in order to support their paddling absolutely helps.

Once a good base has been laid down, it is possible to get more core strength from paddling itself, either distance work or targeted skills like rolling. But that base is usually best laid down in a gym, whether at home or a club.

one more to say
that I have 2 herniated disks and suffer from chronic back pain. Buying a lightweight boat to lift unto roof rack and take to launch is the best money I have spent. That and a carbon fiber paddle!

When I first started kayaking I owned a heavy plastic SOT and heavy paddle. I had no clue as to technique and did alot of arm paddling. Talk about back pain!

Look at videos or take classes to improve your paddling technique to stress torso rotation and involve your legs to power through your strokes. Look at your back band and get it to support your hip bones NOT your back. Don’t lean into a backrest and arm paddle!

Another thing that has helped to outfit my kayak to releive pressure is a thigh support. This could be as simple as a large diameter pool noodle cut to size.