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So I have had lower back problems sense I was 18. I’m 27 now and the problem seems to have gotten a little worse every year. I can deadlift, squat, only lift, no problem. I can also run and most of the time it is not an issue. What seems to cause a sharp pain in my low back is any type of bending over and rounding (like touching my toes). If I sit in a chair and my back it straight, I can sit for hours but as soon as I round my lower back I’ll start to feel pain within a minute or two. Jumping and landing will also cause a problem. It takes a lot of jumps to feel it but it’s the same story as sitting. If I really focus on keeping my back flat I’ll be ok but if I bend too far down when I jump or If I bend low after absorbing a landing it will get sore (It’s hard to have perfect form while I’m playing sports like basketball).
The biggest problem for me is that I surf and stand up paddle competitively and my back is constantly in bending and in a rounded position. After surfing for an hour I’ll have to go to the beach and stretch it out and let it rest for a while before I can go back out. It’s almost impossible to sit with good posture in the water because the board is always moving and if I lean back I’ll fall in the water.
The story is very similar for stand up paddling. I can go for hours if I stand up tall but as soon as I bend over to really paddle fast I feel my back want to tighten up.
I’ve gotten x-rays and the doctors say I’m fine and I do a lot of mobility work (30 mins a day) but I’ve never been able to pin point the problem. The pain can be non existing or I can be stuck hunched over and leaning to one side for a few days. When it gets that bad I usually go to a chiropractor who realigns my hips and I’m fine in the next two days. They say that one side of my pevils rotates which gives me back pain.
I know it’s a lot but if anyone has any idea what the culprit is please let me know.
Have you done any work above or below where you experience the pain in your back?
Sounds like you are at the limits of your tissue so any deviation from ideal positioning is an issue.
Being more aware of the situation will help you to maintain proper positioning whatever the skill you are performing. Yes, it can seem like alot in the beginning, however, start chipping away at it. You will increase the time you are able to maintain proper positioning.
Have you video tapped when you are surfing or paddling so you can see exactly what is going on?
Sometimes you can think you are doing one thing when in reality you are doing another thing. This helps you see exactly what is going on when.
What are you doing to address your pelvis?
I have filmed a lot. For surfing it hurts while I’m sitting and waiting for waves, bottom turning and, landing airs.
As far as mobility I do posterior hip smash, glute medius stretch, spider man, couch stretch and, pocket stretch all with banded distraction.
Just started doing glute bridges and side planks to help stabilize the core.
i would say that you should get an MRI. X-rays only see certain angles, usually front or side and it is easy to miss disc bulges in other directions. An MRI would be conclusive.
it would seem to me that you have a disc issue, which flares up during spine flexion. the easy thing to say would be to train for neutral spine during surfing but it is probably easy to say and less easy to do in the water.
i would say to work on hip flexion with neutral spine. there are some good banded distractions to help with this, like the hamstring floss with band going out back. i would also work on putting the hip socket to the rear of the socket. it may be biasing forward which reduces flexion capability. hip openers will also help and when you bend over, you may want to practice good squatting technique (ie. not knees in, torque the feet) which will enable to you to maintain a good bent over posture versus encouraging flexion to maintain bent over posture.
breathing is a big factor – people undervalue too much what diaphragmatic breathing does for stabilization. work to achieve belly breathing 24/7 and especially during the excitement of being on a wave. this helps you maintain proper posture with less effort and make it reflexive versus conscious.
as for sitting on the board, you may want to practice rolling your pelvis forward while sitting. if you let the pelvis roll back, this will encourage spinal flexion. you can practice this in a chair. sit, then spread the legs to wider than shoulder position, which is probably about the width of your board. then stabilize, and bend over at the hips. press your pelvis forward, as well as maintaining your spine shape. you may not get very far at first. mobilize a lot and practice this. then when you’re sitting on the board, put your arms a bit forward on the board to support and roll that pelvis as far forward as possible.