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Old 25-01-2012, 01:40   #61
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

There's nothing wrong with a mid day break lying on your back flat to relax the lower back muscles that's what captian Autopilot is for or a noon anchor break to chill out after all your a yatchsman
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Old 25-01-2012, 03:33   #62
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

My sympathies entirely for the problem.

Notwithstanding all the great responses above, you also need to recognise that lower back muscle spasms are not always a disc problem. I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and when that has a really bad flare up, I can sometimes have lower back muscle spasms which doctors can mistake for a disc problem. As anyone who has IBS knows, stress and diet are significant controlling factors, but a sufferer is delicately balanced between diarrhoea and constipation. Fall off that balance in a big way, and hello hospital.
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Old 25-01-2012, 04:06   #63
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pirate Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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My sympathies entirely for the problem.

Notwithstanding all the great responses above, you also need to recognise that lower back muscle spasms are not always a disc problem. I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and when that has a really bad flare up, I can sometimes have lower back muscle spasms which doctors can mistake for a disc problem. As anyone who has IBS knows, stress and diet are significant controlling factors, but a sufferer is delicately balanced between diarrhoea and constipation. Fall off that balance in a big way, and hello hospital.
This I can relate to... you'd be amazed how constipation can affect your back...
One solo crossing I was in a blow and got tossed across the cockpit and landed badly on a winch with my lower back... it had me laid a-hull for days with every move agony... then I had my 1st dump for 19days....
1hr later I emerged from the head wrung out and barely able to crawl I felt so weak and drained...
But boy.... was my back a lot better..?
You bet.. I was underway again next morning... but one thing I learnt... carry Milk of Magnesia... and don't let it go for more than 5days or the pressure starts dislocating your internals... with me its the sacoryliac joints linking hips to spine..
a real killer that has the paains running from back right down your legs if its a bad one and each step has you hitting the wall...
What some have said above is true... your back can turn into a Hydra...
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Old 25-01-2012, 10:11   #64
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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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.


What works will depend on the nature of the injury.


!
Exactly.

He has muscle strain. No disk involvement. Different animal.

The back muscles connect with tendons like all muscles. The "strain" is not usually the muscle fibers themselves but rather the tendons. Tendons take a looonng time to heal and heal poorly.

I know today the best thing for recovering patients of all types is to get up and moving early. Tendons are a little different. They need time to heal (more than most tissues) before one starts yanking on them again.
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Old 25-01-2012, 10:40   #65
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Glad to hear it was "just" a true spasm with no other involvements. I had a similar episode about 3 years ago. Flat on my back was fine, but any other movement resulted in the sharpest stabbing pain imaginable. I couldn't get a prescription for a muscle relaxant without being seen by a physician, and there was no way I could negotiate stairs or be in a car to get myself to a doctor. Ended up having to call an ambulance to deliver me to the emergency room. After 5 hours and 3 doses of diazepam (valium) I was finally able to get upright and gingerly walk out of the ER.

Ever since then, I have had a prescription of diazepam at the ready, and always will travel with a few on the off chance it happens again and I'm not at home. I'd suggest you get some and keep them on the boat with you. It's not an instant cure, but could make the difference between be able to deal with it yourself and having to be rescued.
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Old 25-01-2012, 11:04   #66
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

we have sailboats-- hang from boom by knees and relax for an hour daily. do the recommended exercises for back strengthening and be safe--have fun and enjoy life and living.... you will make it!!!
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Old 25-01-2012, 11:26   #67
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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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.
Mine probably started as a teenager having to work on the farm loading hay on a flatbed truck. It's good they have child labor laws NOW! Then on a supply ship moving cargo and onto machine shops pushing steel along with lifting and twisting (Ergonomics).

Here's my back a year before I blow out the disk between L3 /L4.


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Old 25-01-2012, 11:27   #68
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms


An interesting little presentation on health.

Edit: Not specifically about backs but I think it fits...
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Old 25-01-2012, 12:39   #69
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

I crushed a low vertabrae 23 years ago in a speed boat accident. Medical doctors wantedto fuse it together with the vertabrae above and below. I said Iam not crippled yet. I wasin So Cal at the time and Mexico wasclose. They have a pill called Naxadol which is a combo of muscle relaxerand an anti inflamatory. They were $5 for 36 pills. Those and alcohol were regular parts of my diet for years. % years laterI wasin a car wreck and messedup my neck go even worse then. I have been to many chiros, some are out and out quacks and others are magicians. Yoga and streching exersises are what eeeps me mobile and active today. I get pretty uncomfortable if I have to work on my knees all day, but I can do it. I find that alternating heat and ice works the best for me.
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Old 25-01-2012, 13:28   #70
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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Aloha All,
Last Sunday I was sitting at the foot of my bed at home putting on my shoes and my lower back went into muscle spasms. It was incredibly painful to the point of paralysis.
Rule#1...Whilst living in Hawaii, fore-go the shoes. Problem solve...Dr.CS
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Old 25-01-2012, 14:12   #71
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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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,
Your story sounds very much like mine. Just struck out of the blue, and repeats have been nearly out of the blue.

  • Listen the doctor and PT.
  • Drop the sit-ups. Forever. All wrong for you and you don't need them. There are better things.
  • Bicycle. If you use a road bike, consider aero-bars. They take a lot of strain off the back. I find the steady rocking of long rides is good for my back.Sail Delmarva: Aero Bars. Yeah, I'm off Sailing Topics...
  • This book will give you another point of view on mucsle spasms. Basically another look at PT (and he is a bit of a salesman, so put the filters on). Amazon.com: Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain (9780553379884): Pete Egoscue, Roger Gittines: Books
  • Sail lots. But don't haul on the anchor rode (motor up then windlass) and don't lift the dinette table. Those are the only sailing activities that concern me. The other movement is good.
  • Check your helm seat, and your reading chair too, for that matter. Spend what ever it takes to get chairs that are right. These things can be a temporary fix. Back Support Office Chairs | Back Support Office Chairs
  • Get a better mattress (home and boat). I like the Select-Comfort system (we have several) because I can vary the stiffness according to how I feel, and I don't have to compromise with my mate; she needs soft, since she sleeps on her hip, and I need very firm.
  • Keep the hot back wraps on the boat for flare-ups on a cruise. They really help.
Keep moving, full range of motion, just move easy.
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Old 25-01-2012, 14:16   #72
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A few years back I was at work and walking down a hallway. Sneezed really hard and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. Ended up going to the hospital via ambulance. Have never been in such pain. Could barely breathe. A couple months later I was back to normal. Was in my late 50's at the time, so you will recover.

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Old 25-01-2012, 16:23   #73
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

teneicm. Exactly. I was on the second floor (bedroom). Clinic says to come in and I tell them I can't move. If I'd had some pills to ease the pain I might have been able to get into the clinic. On the 4th day after the incident I'm able to walk, get down the stairs and get into the car but can't get an appointment with the doctor. I was almost at the point of calling the ambulance when on the 5th day my wife was able to get me in to the doctor. Since taking it easy and taking the happy pills and doing a little bit of stretching I've made steady improvement.
Celestial - Yes, on the no shoes except my doctor says I need them for my plantar fasciitus to go away. Can't put on shoes because of the back and can't go barefoot because of the heel pain. What a mess!!!!
As my brother's 105 year old father in law used to say. "Don't bother getting old. It's not what its cracked up to be be."
kind regards,
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Old 25-01-2012, 17:37   #74
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

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As my brother's 105 year old father in law used to say. "Don't bother getting old. It's not what its cracked up to be be."
Yeah, I have been spending far to much time in Nursing homes over the past 5 yrs. Thank goodness not as a resident. But I see so much misery in the people that are warehoused in those places.
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Old 25-01-2012, 18:27   #75
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Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Boy do I understand where you are coming from.

For the past few years I've suffered from occasional lower back pain and spasms. On two occasions, I thought they would ruin a sailing vacation. (One charter I ended a day early to see a doctor and get away from the activity.) One, started when I was in the airport and on my way to a charter and leaned over to tie my shoes.

A recent MRI, showed I have 3 ruptured discs. Not great news, but knowing the problem, means knowing how to better manage it. I've had two episodes since and taking Oxycodone stopped the whole cycle of spasms within two days, allowing me to get on with my life.

Your problem may be different and require different treatment methods, but my advice is to push your doctor to find out what your problem is, so you you can find the best treatment appropriate to you.


P.S. - Even with some treatment, it's hard. Rigging my personal cruising boat a few weeks ago was very difficult and painful. Even chartering was less enjoyable than usual. Maybe it's time to go to a trawler, maybe it's time to give up my personal boat and just charter, maybe it's time to give up sailing. Time will tell. Nothing lasts for ever. All we can do is obtain the best information so we can make the best informed decisions possible.

I wish you all the best, and hope you are able to find a way to continue to enjoy boating.
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