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Got The "Lumbar Blues"

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine Q&A' started by DeepSeaDan, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. DeepSeaDan

    DeepSeaDan Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    Well, was supposed to teach a Rescue Course this weekend, but was felled by my wobbly lumbar spine ( my wife drove over freshly painted lines on the roadway, and I got to squat down to scrape & scrub it away - that twisting action was too much for my lower back ). My last mri showed significant disc deterioration, but no bulges or herniations; however, I suspect my next one will tell a different story. As an aside: two days after my back went "out," I ordered an "inversion table", and have had significant relief of pain after "hanging around" several times per day for the last 3 days.

    So fellow divers - who out there struggles with back ( lower / mid / upper ) issues? Has it affected your diving? How do you / did you find relief from what must be some of the most debilitating pain around?

    Get "back" to me when you can!

  2. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    For prevention, once your doc gives the ok, do exercises to strengthen your core. Yoga and Pilates are wonderful for this plus other health benefits as well.

    If you want to just keep it simple:

    Get into plank position, this is basically the up part of a push up. Keep your body in alignment, don't let the butt sag or stick up in the air, and hold this position for 1 minute, rest 30 to 60 seconds, hold again for 1 minute, rest one last time then hold plank again for one minute. You will be in plank a total of 3 minutes. If you like, you can hold plank on your elbows rather then hands. Both work and elbows are a little easier on the hands and wrists.

    Sounds easy doesn't it? :D Depending on fitness, you may have to work your way up to 3 minutes.
  3. mbs

    mbs Regular of the Pub

    Messed mine up 5 years ago moving out an old tube tv... That was end of April and I was scheduled to go to Bonaire for a week end of May. I really didn't think I would make it. Dragging luggage was the worse part. But after a couple of days of diving I was pretty much pain free!!! Something about the weightlessness in the water just allowed everything to fit back in place :wink: Since then my lower back pain is directly related to my lack of exercise to keep my gut tight-ish...
  4. thirdcoastdiver

    thirdcoastdiver Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern United States
    I have had back issues for about 4 years. Tried a lot of different stretches, exercises, yoga, etc. I have arthritis, and some compression around L4/L5. After trying pain relievers, etc., I decided to try physical therapy. After three months of PT the problem started to improve. Not perfect yet, but much better. Planks, a stretch known as the cobra, pelvis tilts, and sitting on a workout ball for 60 seconds (lifting first the left, then the right foot, each for 30 seconds), and then rolling down the ball until my shoulders are supported the by ball and my legs are supporting my weight. Kind of like the face up version of a plank.

    PM&R doctors (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) seem to be pretty good at the rehabilitation process. Good luck. Chronic pain is never easy to deal with.
  5. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    I've battled back problems since the early 90's, but the last couple of years, they got much worse. I had a chiropractor who kept me going for a while, and eventually, that stopped working, too. It was nothing that was amenable to surgery (related to scoliosis and old fractures). Six months ago, I had resigned myself to chronic pain and buying ibuprofen in bulk . . . then, on a whim, I found some yoga videos on line (Sean Vigue, if anybody wants the specific ones). I started doing the beginner routines, and the change was dramatic. Within two weeks, my pain was reduced by about 80% -- I'm not kidding. I went months without taking any pain meds (had to restart because I aggravated my shoulder again :( ). I can carry doubles again! It's clearly the yoga, because I've learned that I have about four days of not doing it before the pain comes back.

    If you have back pain without neurologic symptoms, or just with pain and mild sensory changes, I think a trial of this type of thing would rarely be detrimental, and it certainly has changed the quality of my life.
  6. mbs

    mbs Regular of the Pub

    Yoga can be really great for the back. But be very careful. Improper technique can hurt you as well.
  7. PeterNBiddle

    PeterNBiddle Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, WA USA
    Pilates is quite good, as are very good back-specializing PTs.
  8. ajtoady

    ajtoady ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hammond, NY
    Strengthening the core is great but along with that, flexibility or stretching the muscles is a must. I do a series of stretches every morning before I start the day. Lie flat on your back and slowly bring up your right leg and bend it at the knee . Pull that knee to your chest as far as comfortable and hold for 15 seconds. Relax that leg straight out and do the left in the same manner and time. Relax the leg and then do both legs together, holding them to the chest for 15 seconds. Relax and then repeat for three sets of this routine. I have found that this helps relieve the muscles pulling to compensate injury at the spine somewhat. And as proven, stretching before any activity lessens injury and muscle damage. I will also do this again in the afternoon some days. Also have upon occasion taken aspirin for it's effects. Not synthetics, real aspirin helps with the inflammation. Good luck.

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