/ lower back pain?

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MikaelW - on 29 Apr 2012
Hey Guys,

I was wondering whether some of you had some advice to share regarding rock-climbing and lower back pain?

Lately, I'm affected by it and so I changed a few "bad habits":

Apparently, sit-ups are bad for the lower back: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sit-up_(exercise) so I do crunch instead where the lower back stays on the floor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crunch_(exercise) or a front plank: http://www.rockclimbingperformance.com/1/post/2011/05/how-to-spare-your-lower-back-when-training-cor...

When I go bouldering at the castle climbing centre, I don't jump from the top anymore, I prefer to just climb down slowly (Well If I canů).

Any other experience, advice, stretching/warm-up recommendations?

That lower back ache is quite a pain but I'm sure there are other easy-to-do changes that can affect it positively!

Thanks in advance.

Mikael
David Kay - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

Try pilates exercises to build core strength. Also, have a good think about your posture, especially if you have to sit for a long time. For me having tight hamstrings was causing me problems.
JH74 - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

If it's just an ache as you seem to describe then you are in a great position to nip it in the bud.

Pilates, as mentioned, really helped me and coincidentally made me stronger in really good places with regards to climbing. Pilates helps lock in the sub adominal muscles which are often overlooked when doing crunches etc.

Not sitting and downclimbing are good steps for sure.

Good luck with it.

Ciro - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

As the others have said, building core strength and flexibility - yoga practice (if you can motivate yourself to do it often enough) helps tremendously. Even just 15 minutes of sun salutations before or after training sessions, on top of one or two longer sessions or classes a week.

If you have a desk job, tell HR you're having back problems and ask for an independent workstation assessment - you're entitled to one by law and a change of your setup may work wonders.
In reply to Ciro: I found exersises on a Swedish ball for core stability worked wonders for me. As everyone has said, core stablity is the key. Don't go near an osteopath.
chrisbaggy - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

The Hip flexors are integral in transmitting the load from your lumbar spine to your SI joints and into your legs especially when lifting so don't completely disregard the sit-ups (Maybe try leg raises or L hangs)

Also if your doing crunches doing an exercise such as the the "bird dog exercise" will help strengthen your errector spinae and other deep back muscles which help strengthen the spine. This is as it is always better to train the antagonist muscle as well as the agonist (i.e. the muscle that does the opposite movement) This means your musculature will be more balanced reducing your risk of injury.

Hope this helps

Chris
chrisbaggy - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to John Burns:
> (In reply to Ciro) Don't go near an osteopath.

Out of interest why is that?
Cenicienta - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:
Hi Mikael, great job for bringing that up...

yes, sit ups are not good for your lower back.. crunches are much better...
also, trying to build up the small muscles around your core is a very good thing. We all have very good upper back muscles and they tend to 'take over' the job from the smaller muscles besides your spain... and when they are getting less engaged they just tend to rest for good and not do their job in keeping you up.. that starts the back pain... well, it did in my case anyway...

i am trying to getting my core muscles - especially the small ones - trained with some pilates, special exercises etc...

bouldering... different problem... since i have to climb up and down i am not enjoying it as much as i did... you cant really push yourself when you can't jump down. thats rubbish!!!
so more than happy to get some advise in here as well.

thanks
andrea
Fluvial - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

Firstly Bouldering walls are where you practice so coming down is good balence practice.
I suffered from lower back pain not so long ago, suggest stopping until the pain subsides then slowly begin to build back up again. Warm up slowly and warm down.
Remember as someone said to me - keep climbing on pain and it won't ever go away - be positive and there are lots of fingerboard stuff you can do in the meantime - thats how I did it.
chrisbaggy - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to chrisbaggy:

Just thought id add that in strengthening your deep back muscles (Errector Spinae, Multifundus, QL etc) your better off trying to work stamina than power.

i.e. it is the trivial events when you are tired, like bending to pick something that isn't excessively heavy up at the end of a day when your tired rather than frank traumas such as picking up something heavy badly.

chrisbaggy - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to fozmeister:
> (In reply to MikaelW)


Climbing has been shown to have some benefits for chronic back pain, I can't see that stopping climbing is totally the best thing for the LBP, but maybe just taking it easy and down climbing rather than jumping off the bouldering may be beneficial

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21192296

Ciro - on 29 Apr 2012
> Climbing has been shown to have some benefits for chronic back pain, I can't see that stopping climbing is totally the best thing for the LBP, but maybe just taking it easy and down climbing rather than jumping off the bouldering may be beneficial
>
> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21192296

Agreed, climbing was very beneficial for me when re-habing from a slipped disk. Bouldering can put quite a strain on everything though - I think climbing routes gives you the strengthening benefits with much less risk of aggravation.
Mark Kemball - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW: I suffer with my back from time to time and at the moment have quite bad sciatica (which is really stuffing my climbing). I have found that a good osteopath can help a great deal, (unfortunately mine has been on holiday so I've had to suffer - I've got an appointment on Thursday). I've been recently been recommended "The Back Sufferers Bible" http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Keys-Back-Sufferers-Bible/dp/0091814944/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8... exercises from that seem to help and it gives you a very good understanding of how your spine works. I'm hoping it will provide a solution to my problems in the long term.
derico - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to David Kirsfelds: Hi David, I was told I had this problem too. What did you do to solve the issue? Many thanks, Dave
David Kay - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to derico: For tight hamstrings?

Put your heel on the first step of a staircase (or something similar height, I use a toolbox), keep your leg straight and toe pointing up. Slowly tilt forwards from the hip keeping your back straight. When you feel a stretch hold for 30 secs and repeat 3 times on each side.

I'm never going to have super flexible hamstrings, but I started seeing good improvements in the first week or so.
Fluvial - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to chrisbaggy:

He was referring to bouldering which I felt could easily put too much stress on the area, routes on the otherhand would offer some benefit as long as not too strenuous
ruaidh - on 29 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

Lower back pain has myriad possible causes. Your problem could be muscular, with tendon/ligament, structural, some unusual neurological damage, even kidney infection.. th list goes on. The underlying cause might be some old injury, or referred strain from neck, hamstring or something else entirely.

You need a proper assessment from a GOOD physio or orthopedic surgeon. If you have referred pain down your legs (i.e. sciatica) then a neurosurgeon. XRay may indicate structural problems or obvious soft-tissue damage. If you can afford an MRI scan (or have private healthcare), do that.

Lots of good advice here, but it really depends on what the problem/cause is. Get a proper diagnosis then you will be in a position to choose the most effective treatment.
MikaelW - on 30 Apr 2012
Thanks for all those messages, a lots of knowledge and experience here, I really appreciate!

I'm gonna try some of the suggestions:
- no more bouldering for now
- pilates and some other core-strengh exercises
-will read that "back sufferer bible"

Thanks again, hopefully, it will feel better in 2 weeks, if not I will consider heavier options, I will report back anyway ;-)

Mikael
Mark Kemball - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW: Good luck - I've just been to see the doc - heavy duty painkillers for me and carry on carefully with the osteopath and the exercises from "back sufferers' bibie. If no improvement in 6 weeks then it's an MRI scan.
sean0386 - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW: try stretching your hamstrings. Alot of lower back pain is caused by the hamstrings pulling on your back muscles and joints.
lowersharpnose - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

I worked on my core by kneeling on one of those big balls. Really improved my balance as well.
tom vellacott - on 02 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

lie flat on your front, put your hands on the floor in the same place you would a press up and then extend your arms straight so that your pelvis remains on the floor but your shoulders are off the floor. This is a good stretch for the lower back. hold for about half a minute and do 3 reps 3 times a day. you can also stretch out to the side, but the key is to do these stretches everyday and regularly ... hope it helps
Ciro - on 02 May 2012
In reply to tom vellacott:
> (In reply to MikaelW)
>
> lie flat on your front, put your hands on the floor in the same place you would a press up and then extend your arms straight so that your pelvis remains on the floor but your shoulders are off the floor. This is a good stretch for the lower back. hold for about half a minute and do 3 reps 3 times a day. you can also stretch out to the side, but the key is to do these stretches everyday and regularly ... hope it helps

I wouldn't try this exercise unless you've had the problem investigated and ruled out any disc trouble. This was one stretch I was told to avoid completely until I was fully recovered - it can put a severe strain on the lower back unless done correctly. You should lift your pelvis off the floor slightly, to ensure the core remains engaged rather than letting the back sag between the two support points (shoulders and the floor)
Poco Loco - on 02 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

Is it a muscular pain in the lower back? For me this is caused by tight gluteals - to a search for deep gluteal stretch. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=deep+gluteal+stretch
shark - on 02 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW:


In my experience lower back pain is usually due to too much load placed on that area for it to take. You can strengthen the lower back but the root cause is often because other areas are not sharing enough of the load. Typical causes are not activating the glutes or mobilising the upper back sufficiently. A good physio will study your movement and posture and identify what needs to be worked on the most. Specific stretchs, manipulation, weights, yoga, core strengthening and re-learning to sit down and stand up can play a part.
shark - on 02 May 2012
In reply to ruaidh:
> (In reply to MikaelW)
>
> Lower back pain has myriad possible causes. Your problem could be muscular, with tendon/ligament, structural, some unusual neurological damage, even kidney infection.. th list goes on. The underlying cause might be some old injury, or referred strain from neck, hamstring or something else entirely.
>
> You need a proper assessment from a GOOD physio or orthopedic surgeon. If you have referred pain down your legs (i.e. sciatica) then a neurosurgeon. XRay may indicate structural problems or obvious soft-tissue damage. If you can afford an MRI scan (or have private healthcare), do that.
>
> Lots of good advice here, but it really depends on what the problem/cause is. Get a proper diagnosis then you will be in a position to choose the most effective treatment.


Word
Chris Hines - on 03 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW: I've had back pain for years that was getting worse. I had pain morning, noon and night. I've tried physio, orthotics, osteopath etc. Then I tried pilates and it's been a revelation. Just can't recommend it enough. Your probably best to go to a class rather than make a program yourself as it will be properly balanced. Well worth the money each week.
Nic on 05 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

Speaking as someone who around ten years ago went through a phase of having (literally) to crawl out of bed in the morning and pull myself upright on the nearest chair, and then struggling to get dressed as I couldn't reach my feet, I can agree with much of the advice given above. I was subsequently diagnosed with a slipped disc (L3/L4). To summarise what worked for me:

- core strength exercises, and especially Pilates

- posture (mine used to be chest forward, bum out, try standing against a wall with your heels touching. If your shoulder blades don't touch as well, your posture is wrong, rotate your hips forward)

- climbing...gentle overhangs are great, I could hang for hours just feeling that spine stretch! But yes, jumping off not a good idea

- hamstrings etc. The simple act of walking transmits shock straight into your lower back if they're tight, so get them stretched out (I can now touch the floor with my palms)


Good luck
jon5 on 19 May 2012 - cpc1-runc3-0-0-cust441.1-3.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to tom vellacott:
> (In reply to MikaelW)
>
> lie flat on your front, put your hands on the floor in the same place you would a press up and then extend your arms straight so that your pelvis remains on the floor but your shoulders are off the floor. This is a good stretch for the lower back. hold for about half a minute and do 3 reps 3 times a day. you can also stretch out to the side, but the key is to do these stretches everyday and regularly ... hope it helps

Don't do this exercise (Mckenzie stretch) until you know if you have a disc herniation and what type. Could be posterial, anterial lateral or a mixture. If its anterior you will feel pain when you do this stretch. If it's posterial you will get pain when you bend over to try and touch your toes. Get an MRI scan and some advice off a physio as you may make things worse following advice off this forum.
Anonymous on 19 May 2012 - 88-111-154-49.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to chrisbaggy:

You can get out of chiropractic, look at the chirotalk website for lots of advice about chiropractor deprogramming. There is hope yet mate.
steve taylor - on 20 May 2012
In reply to Nic:

Hi Nic - looks like I've got something similar you, but L4/5 and hernoated, rather than slipped.

Did you consider surgery at all? My surgeon is recommending fusion, but I'm not too keen on that after reading how long I'll be out of action :o(

I'm going to try further physio. If that starts to help, I'll take on a pilates class as well (had a few recommendations to try this).
altirando - on 20 May 2012
In reply to MikaelW: I injured my lower back in a silly move putting a heavy pack on the car back seat. I found I could keep going while the muscles repaired themselves with a McDavid back support. One year on, I am still having to keep stretching the shortened muscles - no quick answer but important to check there is no disc damage.
Nic on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to steve taylor:

Hi Steve, long time etc...sorry I missed the Portland clean up.

Herniated = slipped!

No, I never got anywhere near surgery, as it got better (slowly...) with the various conservative treatments, and in any case surgery is not without risk (they're messing around near some pretty vital nerve pathways).

Pilates? Yes, sign up NOW and forget the physio, it was really worth it for me...and do check your posture.

Good luck!


Nic
Gav Parker - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

My pain seems to come from my QL muscle which attaches to your 12th Rib and other things...if you sit lots it contracts.....I find rolling round on a tennis ball seems to help!!
Baron Weasel - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to MikaelW: Hi Mikael - I suffered from lower back ache and pain for many years and have consulted many specialists to solve the problem. Based on my experience I would recommend the Bowen technique to address specific pain or injury.

However, prevention is always better than remedy and I found something that works really well for me - adjusting the way that I walk! A friend had been talking to me about barefoot and minimalist running and the importance of not landing on your heel, but on ther front of your foot?!? It took me a while to get around to giving it a go, but I did just with general walking and within half an hour years of general lower back ache and pain evaporated!! This suttle change (which I am still trying to commit to muscle memory) adjusts your posture so you walk and hold yourself with shoulders back, chest out and no pressure on the lower back.

The Baron
JimboWizbo - on 07 Jun 2012
In reply to MikaelW: I know people who have used slacklining as a method of recovery, adding stability and developing strength. However I can also see how this could make things worse if you're particularly wobbly on a slackline.
steve taylor - on 08 Jun 2012
In reply to MikaelW:

I'm building up core strength now with a physio. Pretty gentle at the moment, but I can already see some benefits.

Basic back stretch every hour, which relieves pressure on the damaged disc, plus planks and a leg raise/stretch twice daily....

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