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Low back pain from deepwater start

pgmoorepgmoore Posts: 212 Solid Baller
edited June 2015 in Technique & Theory
Relative to some of you guys, I haven't skied much so far this year... 7 sets, maybe. But I seem to have developed a new, and unwelcome, phenomenon whereby deep water starts are really starting to bug my lower back. I've been getting a lot of pain and stiffness for the next few days after a session.

This is a new situation for me and something I haven't experienced in previous years. I have, however, skied a lot more all at once at the start of the season this year. Maybe that has something to do with it?

By way of background: I'm 33, relatively fit (race cross country skiing all winter long), LFF. It's the right side of my lower back that seems to get the most sore.

This is starting to bum me out as my sore back is impacting the activities I want to do - skiing and running! As a side note, cycling seems to be no problem.

What's up? Is this going to get better? Is there something I can do differently?

Patrick Moore


  • hemlockhemlock Posts: 180 Baller
    edited June 2015
    I was the same as you a few years ago.
    Turned out I was getting out of the water incorrectly.

    I changed my take out by making sure I keep my arms straight, and I stay
    in a little ball (knees tucked to my chest) a lot longer before I stand up.
    It's saved my back! Maybe this will help.

    Oh, and don't forget to stretch your back before your set!
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,188 Mega Baller
    Stretch your glutes and hamstrings.
    Do some planking.
    Take your wallet out of your back pocket (seriously, don't sit on your wallet).
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    Goode vests make starts ridiculously easy on your back. There are tradeoffs but it can keep you skiing. Rather expensive but not compared to a doctor visit...
  • lfflff Posts: 65 Baller
    Yoga helped mine. I'm LFF too but my back issue was lower left. @MISkier right about wallet. I didn't have a George Constanza wallet but carrying it in front pocket made a world of difference,
  • rawlyrawly Posts: 536 Crazy Baller
    Do you use a coast guard approved vest ? I have low back issues and use mine during flare ups. What ski are you on ? My vapor is easy on my back during starts. Others are tougher on the back.
  • TWBTWB Posts: 162 Baller
    I had this a few years ago when I switched to a Reflex. When my back was feeling better I would ski again and aggravate my back. After a few weeks of skiing once and taking a week off to let my back recover, my disc finally blew. Listen to your back. Having said that, I still ski with some back pain, but I start the season with a strong core, I use an inversion table regularly, and I drag a foot now on my deep water starts. That makes a big difference, but requires using a RTP.
    Tom Burnham
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Wallet in the back pocket quote raised a flag for me. Back in 1980, a chiropractor gave me that
    advice. Moved to a front pocket. Maybe a little safer from pickpockets! Back then, I was putting
    in a lot of driving miles every year sitting on my wallet.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    Do you get up with both feet in or are you a dragger. Dragging is easier on your back.
    Mark Shaffer
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 744 Crazy Baller
    How do you grip the handle on a deep water start? Both plans down ?
  • pgmoorepgmoore Posts: 212 Solid Baller
    edited June 2015
    Thanks everyone. A few answers to some questions you had raised:

    - I could for sure do a better job of stretching in all my athletic endeavors. But that isn't different than before.

    - Now that you mention it, maybe I'm a bit rushed in standing up and could stay curled up a bit longer.

    - If I'm sitting down, then my wallet is either in my front pocket or not in my pants. Never in the back.

    - Vest is Radar Decibel.

    - Two Strada boots.

    - @igkya - interesting question about handle grip for the start. Had never thought of that before. I use the same baseball grip as I would during skiing = right palm up. What are you thinking of on that front?
    Patrick Moore
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    Improving technique is a great idea and highly recommended. It's also about time to get a team of body workers as you advance into "not so young any more." A good sports chiropractor is key, and a good deep tissue massage guy can be even more important. (And there's a big difference between relaxing massage and somebody who can really wail on your muscles and improve function.)

    And doing a ridiculous amount of core exercise, especially with imbalance, is very important.

    I've also recently discovered something called Mechanical Link treatment (thanks @rayn!), which seems to be pure voodoo, except for the part where it absolutely works!

    If we want to keep at this, we have to do a lot of maintenance.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 744 Crazy Baller
    @pgmoore I'm LFF and used to ski with the wrong grip (left palm up). I corrected my grip (left palm down) which helped my skiing, but continued with left palm up on deepwater starts. Several years ago, I forced myself to do both palms down and the deepwater starts felt easier and had an even pull (no twisting) on my back.
  • pgmoorepgmoore Posts: 212 Solid Baller
    @igkya - just re-read what I had written. Apparently, I can't tell my left from right. I for sure ski with right palm up (not left).

    But will for sure try with both down in the start!
    Patrick Moore
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    Head up and chest up helps also. Prevents too much curvature of the spine
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    edited June 2015
    @pgmoore, another thing that helps me on the get ups is that in addition to keeping my knees in to my chest, I also keep my knees together, and in line. If I don't, and the force of the water starts to spread my knees (legs) apart, making it hard to hang on.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    Few years ago my lower back started really hurting when I was getting up. On the recommendation of some folks on BOS I bought some bathing suit shorts that were made of flexible material. Problem solved. My suit was acting alike a sail and adding a lot of drag.
  • pgmoorepgmoore Posts: 212 Solid Baller
    Well, several days have passed and I'm starting to feel a lot better. Have had appointments both with physio and chiro. Fingers crossed (really, really crossed), I'm hoping to make a gradual return starting on Sunday. Assuming I'm totally pain free for the required number of days prior to that, of course...

    Based on the good advice above, the keys things are going to be:
    • Improving technique - straight arms, stay squished up in a ball for longer, avoid standing so quickly
    • Grip the handle both palms down on the start
    • Shorts with reduced drag!
    We'll see what happens...
    Patrick Moore
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 625 Solid Baller
    Mechanically thinking, shorts should not create a noticeable amount of drag because there is no any "ribs" or ropes or other elements that make it acting like a sail. During start it should simply roll up (or fold back) on legs.
    Though... last straw can break camel's back..
    In fact I also start season in thin neoprene tight shorts, partly because of this reason - just not to think about turbulence )
  • TevskisTevskis Posts: 33 Baller
    @igkya I have to agree with you! In theory the idea of skiing with one palm up and one down is to counter the action of twisting from the boats load so we can stay "stronger" behind the boat on a weak side pull. When one foot is forward the boat turns and pulls our shoulders down the course in ITS direction of travel, in turn we counter this force by placing one hand under the handle i.e. right palm up for LFF, This one move however tightens up the back and makes the initial load from the boat "bind" and hold on this side (the right) about halfway down the back, directly beside the spine. Try flipping your second hand to make your deepwater starts with BOTH PALMS DOWN and hopefully you will feel the boats load move all of the way from your hands into your lower hips instead of getting bound on the right side in your lower back. @pgmoore
    Swimming against the tide...
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,470 Mega Baller
    edited June 2015
    Yes. Get up with both palms down, then when your up switch to your normal grip. Also important, arms extended and slight pressure down on your front toes. And ask the driver to go up easy.
  • HallpassHallpass Posts: 224 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2015
    Another bad back guy who has found pulls out to be easier with both palms down. BKH
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