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Old 18-01-2012, 16:49   #46
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Some good advice here that I won't repeat. Having watched my father struggle with this since I was a child and having had 4 surgeries to date for disk issues two of the best pieces of advice were:

Keep extra weight off especially in the 'beer gut' realm. Even 10# can cause some issue.

Second do morning stretches on the floor bringing 1 knee to chest and hold for 5 count, then the other and finally both. Work with a physical therapist on the best way to strengthen without re-injury.

Good remedies Alieve (naproxen sodium I think or ibuprofen. If things get really whacky lidocaine patches can help. (rx)

Hope you get this resolved soon!
SC
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Old 18-01-2012, 16:51   #47
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Have dealt with back issues for over 40 years. First thing to keep boating/cruising, get a windlass if you don't have one. Unless there is serious damage, it will pass. I believe in chiropractic care, my chiro only wants to see me when I have trouble. There are some very easy exercises that you can do, in bed, before you get up. Mostly stretching. You need to build up surrounding muscles in your back. You will learn what triggers the back issue. One of the worst things I can do is stand in one spot for a long period of time. Going to social events, I either have to sit, or keep moving. On the ICW I "put my back out" untying a dock line for someone. I found a Chiropractor that came to the boat and got me going. You will plan all tricky moves, how to use equipment on the boat to move things, like outboards, dinghies, etc. You will also learn to say,"Hey, can you give me a hand here, Thanks."
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Old 18-01-2012, 17:41   #48
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
An overdose of drugs washed down with really good single malt and two good sleeps got me back on the water.
Thank you Dr Bob
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Old 19-01-2012, 11:41   #49
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Thanks all. From the forum posts I feel encouraged that I can continue sailing and boat maintenance. I feel stronger every day.

Thanks delmarrey and others who have given personal examples of continuing. That's what I needed.

kind regards,
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Old 19-01-2012, 12:01   #50
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

John,

I haven't read every post here, but I have seen some bad advice. No one can diagnose you over the Internet. Heck most of the medical profession can be stymied by back pain.

I hurt my back five years ago. I lost the better part of year to medication and therapy that really didn't help. Your best course of action is to become an educated patient.

I learned that most doctors found what they were looking for. I was diagnosed with everything from disc issues to torn muscles to rheumatoid arthritis. I ultimately found a solution that worked for me and I'm sailing (including an active delivery practice) a lot. My solution isn't relevant to you, since your problem may not be mine.

I suggest second, third, and fourth opinions from various specialties. Don't let them talk you out of x-rays, blood tests, or MRIs. Don't hesitate to be vocal if a course of treatment isn't helping.

I still live with pain every day but I'm functional and can live my life with no more than a heating pad and some Ibuprofen. It took quite a while to get there as the doctors led me down a number of dead ends.
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Old 19-01-2012, 17:13   #51
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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Originally Posted by sailcruiser View Post
Keep extra weight off especially in the 'beer gut' realm. Even 10# can cause some issue.
Yep. And most everyone I see is carrying around that much or more. Puts a constant strain on your back.
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Old 20-01-2012, 20:39   #52
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobofthenorth
An overdose of drugs washed down with really good single malt and two good sleeps got me back on the water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Thank you Dr Bob
And today I am up and at 'em
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Old 20-01-2012, 21:23   #53
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

What I get from all the posts is stay active, don't vegetate, even if it is two steps forward, one step back, keep moving. Unfortunately, I'm still on pain meds and muscle relaxants but try and hit the gym between my physical therapy sessions for a light workout. Dr says another 5-6 months before he will know what limitations will be life long. But I look around and see folks who have lost a leg or are in a wheelchair or otherwise limited and feel really fortunate that I'm still relatively mobile.
Skprjohn and catman... keep at it and you will recover... too many just curl up and think life is over but you guys don't seem the type... I like the single malt and a couple of pills remedy... cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 20-01-2012, 22:02   #54
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

I would be really carefull with cracking your bones. I found out too late from an MRI that I have osteo-arthertis and the bone cracker was just agrovating my spinal stenosis and had done non-reverseal damage so at 62 I have a 90 year old neck and am on 6 ultram and medical pot and I can still single hand our catamaran ok day sailing. I have my eye on 3 electric winches and already have a nice electric windless. I have belonged to a great court club for 30 years now with lots of exersize equiptment and 2 swimming pools and 3 hot tubs. I find if I have a back ache I do setups and crunches usually in a dry sauna, this helps get blood in the constricted muscle that is causing pressure on a nerve. Good Luck
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Old 24-01-2012, 19:35   #55
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Aloha All,

Thanks for all the good input. I finally got the x-rays done and went to the doc. I have no vertabrae problems or disk problems but a little bit of osteoperosis. So the next thing is a physical therapist and muscle strengthening sessions. Funny thing is, I thought my muscles were already strong with daily situp routine and bicycling. I guess the physical therapist will let me know what I've been doing wrong.

Just like finding out there isn't too much seriously wrong with a boat system this is good news that there isn't too much seriously wrong with my back and the doctor says I should be able to recover and get back to my old activities. This did give me a good fright for awhile though and I hope it never happens to any of my cruiser forum friends.

kind regards,
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Old 24-01-2012, 19:37   #56
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Captain Phil and others say it best. Try to stay active.
kind regards,
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Old 24-01-2012, 19:51   #57
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha All,

Thanks for all the good input. I finally got the x-rays done and went to the doc. I have no vertabrae problems or disk problems but a little bit of osteoperosis. So the next thing is a physical therapist and muscle strengthening sessions. Funny thing is, I thought my muscles were already strong with daily situp routine and bicycling. I guess the physical therapist will let me know what I've been doing wrong.

Just like finding out there isn't too much seriously wrong with a boat system this is good news that there isn't too much seriously wrong with my back and the doctor says I should be able to recover and get back to my old activities. This did give me a good fright for awhile though and I hope it never happens to any of my cruiser forum friends.

kind regards,
They probably are.

You just somehow strained them.

Give them a chance to heal and then come back slowly.

I was told many years ago that almost all people with chronic back problems can point to a specific instance where it all started. I think it is true.

I have never met a person with a back injury like yours (and mine) that did not have to "watch it" forever after.

Not to say you will be a chronic back person, just that that is how it starts with them.

But I sound pessimistic don't I? Sorry.

And what I said before.
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Old 24-01-2012, 20:36   #58
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

I have had three major back episodes in my life, each of which left me unable to walk without crutches after the pain passed, each took months to be able to walk "normally" again (I still have a slight limp). The first time (1981) I had back surgery as that was the cure-du-jour; these days it is recognized as largely ineffective with serious risks. If a doctor recommends surgery, get second opinion(s). The second two episodes were in the UK in 1997-8 and 1999-2000 (different lumbar disks); the last episode I had physiotherapy which has made a huge difference. I highly recommend it.

Some thoughts: keeping weight down and staying fit with regular exercise are the best prevention. Also learn how to move, stand, lift, etc without causing strain. When problems do arise get to bed early with anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, before things deteriorate too badly. Stay down as long as it takes, then start exercising to get strength back. Running causes a lot of impact - avoid. Try low impact exercise like swimming, biking, and walking. Be careful using ice: it can reduce swelling but it also causes muscles to contract, which can make a bad situation worse. Warmth encourages circulation which may result in more initial swelling but also relaxes muscles and helps injuries heal. What works will depend on the nature of the injury.

After the last episode I sailed to Turkey, mostly alone, then back to the Caribbean and US. I also had a heart attack in Turkey. The one thing I am certain of is that the longer I am not cruising the more likely these problems will come back. Neither was a concern while I was cruising as I was more active and in better condition. So once the OP's pain passes, get out and go cruising!
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Old 24-01-2012, 20:51   #59
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

For me, it's muscle problems as well. Dating back to dirt biking, hill climbing as a youth to a Katrina cleanup task moving an old 500 gal heating oil tank out of my brother's basement. The latter still persists, the former is gone.

What works for me is awareness, knowing when to rest.

And..

-bicycle rides
-drinking lots of water
-symmetrical lifting
-a 50+ multi-vitamin
-not carrying my wallet in a back pocket; yep, helped more than one could imagine, symmetry is key.
-dropping 20 pounds after buying my boat, and keeping it off, has been a godsend.
-keep moving but don't go past the dull stiffness that indicates the limit.

If I'm lax on this, the simplest manual task, with any aspect of asymmetry can trigger an episode.

And after a day sail that involves many tacks in sequence, I can have full body muscle cramps. Literally any muscle, anywhere from head to toe can knot up tight.

These cramps started after I bought the boat and it was a wake-up call.

The wife of my hull cleaner in St. Pete is a massage therapist, I didn't know what that was, and she unlocked many muscles in my back last June. It was amazing. Those muscles had been knotted up since before I quit a stressful rat race job two years earlier. Consider getting a deep muscle massage, did wonders for me.

It's been a while since a debilitating episode, but I would get a muscle relaxer from my brother, who has had an unsuccessful operation, and that would help start the recovery, just taking it easy for a few days.

Seriously, take your wallet out of your back pocket and stop sitting on it. Yours is probably fatter than mine I bet.
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Old 24-01-2012, 22:46   #60
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
I have no vertabrae problems or disk problems but a little bit of osteoperosis.
Everyone your age has a bit of osteoporosis. And a bit of arthritis thrown in.

Much of this is about posture. Ask your physical therapist about sleeping posture. Sometimes a simple change can alleviate the pain.

Hang in there, friend. The fact that you don't have disk problems is GREAT news.
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