Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-01-2012, 12:43   #1
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Aloha All,
I am recovering from an episode that leaves me questioning my idea of ever single handing again or even sailing again.
I have good health for my age and have lifted heavy items all my life with only a few tweaks in the back here and there that just required a little bit of lying down to cure. 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. Paralyzed by pain or the fear of pain. The only relief was to straighten out flat on my back with my lower legs elevated. I truly could not move without more excruciating pain and spasms. I was flat for two days.
I am so thankful that I wasn't out sailing when it happened or up working inside my boat when it happened. I don't know what I could have done. I was unable to reach a phone or even drag myself fully onto the bed without so much pain to paralyze me.
So, while lying there thinking about maybe never recovering I had my thoughts of "Will I ever sail again?" "Can I ever work on my boat to finish the project?"
Anyone else with these symptoms?
I have recovered to the point of being able to walk, make coffee, get my own breakfast and put my pants on but who knows what the future holds.
kind regards,
__________________

__________________
John
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 12:52   #2
Registered User
 
Sailagain's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bristol, RI
Boat: Beneteau 34'
Posts: 153
Being a chriopractor in my previous life - you need to get evaluated by a medical doctor

Sounds like a disc in your back has protruded into the spinal canal and has hit your nerve

First you want to make sure it's stable - a it can lead to all kinds of complications

Second - there are treatments

You story is very familiar. Most people experience this for the first time in the absence of strenuous activity - just bending over, sneezing, coughing..etc.

avoid lifting, all bending over, especially while twisting to the left or the right at the same time - until you have seen a proper medical doctor
__________________

__________________
Sailagain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 12:56   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 741
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

John, all of life has its risks. But the cost of staying safe is higher. Two days ago we were anchored at Christmas Cove and took the dinghy ashore. Ont he way out, my husband the raised motor - a 110 pound four stroke -- slammed down on the Captain's index finger, trapping it between the lever and the engine shaft. Luckily someone heard us screaming, otherwise I don't know what we would have done: uninhabited island, no radio, and, obviously, I couldn't use the dinghy to get help. We both are haunted by the what-ifs, but the worse what-if would be to sit at home safe. Get a muscle relaxant script, and continue to take chances, that's called life.
__________________
Hannah on 'Rita T' is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 12:56   #4
Freelance Delivery Skipper..
 
boatman61's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PORTUGAL
Posts: 20,222
Images: 2
pirate Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

ROFL.....
Sorry Skpr... sounds like you popped your Sacroiliac... it'll pass slowly..
do back muscle exercise's... flat on back with knee's drawn up.. do upward pelvic thrust and hold then taking weight on feet and shoulders raise butt of the floor.. hold for 3 then lower and release thrust.. repeat..
I suffer from this time to time and can barely walk 20 steps.. usually after a while in port lying around doing nothing.. was given the exercise by a chiropractor and it does do the trick.. 5 mins a day..
RE; 20 steps is when its popped... but I'm all right now...
__________________


Born To Be Wild
boatman61 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 12:59   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Aloha Sailagain,
Thanks for the advice. I saw a doc last Friday and got x-rays yesterday. I have a follow up next week with him and hope he can tell me what's wrong.
As a former Chiro guy is there something in your exerience that you could do in your field to help? I've never been to a Chiropractor but will try anything to get some piece of mind and relief.
kind regards,
__________________
John
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:05   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Yes, I remember it well. Sounds like you have recovered in quite a short time. You need to exercise your core trunk muscles, back, stomach and obliques and keep them in good shape. But as stated above you need to be evaluated first.

Don't get to gloomy about it. You had a scare but don't let it keep you from being active and do get in shape. I spent a lot of time on my back with my lower legs up on a hassock. I was finally prescribed Diazapam for the muscle spasms and a non-narcotic analgesic. The Diazapam worked well but I never took one until the first hint of a spasm and I got off of them as soon as I could. I have not been troubled with back pain for many yrs. My doctor did one really great thing for me, he told me to not let the surgeons operate on my back. He also told me that I might never walk without a cane and I told him that was his opinion. I only needed the cane for a very short time.

One book I would recommend to anyone troubled with back pain is "The Back Doctor" since superseded by two other books (which I have not read) by the same doctor.

Keep a good positive outlook on life, keep fit and hopefully you will enjoy more years of good health and good sailing.

P.S: A Chiropractor did not help my symptoms, normal medical practice did very little for me, however a very good sports massage therapist helped me a great deal. Different therapies seem to work for different people.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:07   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Thanks Boatman for the exercise recommendation. Will try it.
Thanks Hannah. From the dialog from the old Indian on "The Outlaw Jossie Wales" I will endeavor to persevere. Your situation sounded like you have a lot of what ifs too.
__________________
John
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:12   #8
Registered User
 
Sailagain's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bristol, RI
Boat: Beneteau 34'
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Aloha Sailagain,
Thanks for the advice. I saw a doc last Friday and got x-rays yesterday. I have a follow up next week with him and hope he can tell me what's wrong.
As a former Chiro guy is there something in your exerience that you could do in your field to help? I've never been to a Chiropractor but will try anything to get some piece of mind and relief.
kind regards,
I left the field about 15 years ago. I have mixed emotions about the profession all together. A lot of chiropractors are not very ethical - opting to sign the patients up for many many treatments.

I do have a healthy knowledge of backs though.

An X-ray won't show if a disc is bulging into the spinal canal. So if your symptoms continue you will need an MRI.

Backs are very tricky. Rest - take anti-inflammtory and muscle relaxant. Don't use heat - use ice. Heat adds to the inflammatory process (even though it feels nice).

Don't bend at the waist and don't lift anything

When you feel better still avoid bending at the waist, twisting, and lifting anything heavy.
__________________
Sailagain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:12   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Deep Freeze,
Thanks for hints and words of encouragement and book recommendation. I've always been a cyclist and do daily situps so will continue. I hate to be on drugs so will have to change that attitude I guess.
kind regards,
__________________
John
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:23   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 310
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

My experience tells me the DeepFrz is on the money. I had a similar issue years ago. One trip to chiropractor straitenend my spinal column and steady exercise of either biking or running has keeps off the pain. Any time I stop working out, I can feel my back getting sore from a good night of sleep and I know it's time to start running agian. It's all about core strength.
__________________
Abaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:43   #11
Registered User
 
lateral's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: NZ
Boat: S34 Bob Stewart - 1959 Patiki class. Re--built by me & good mate.
Posts: 703
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Yes, I remember it well. Sounds like you have recovered in quite a short time. You need to exercise your core trunk muscles, back, stomach and obliques and keep them in good shape. But as stated above you need to be evaluated first.

Don't get to gloomy about it. You had a scare but don't let it keep you from being active and do get in shape. I spent a lot of time on my back with my lower legs up on a hassock. I was finally prescribed Diazapam for the muscle spasms and a non-narcotic analgesic. The Diazapam worked well but I never took one until the first hint of a spasm and I got off of them as soon as I could. I have not been troubled with back pain for many yrs. My doctor did one really great thing for me, he told me to not let the surgeons operate on my back. He also told me that I might never walk without a cane and I told him that was his opinion. I only needed the cane for a very short time.

One book I would recommend to anyone troubled with back pain is "The Back Doctor" since superseded by two other books (which I have not read) by the same doctor.

Keep a good positive outlook on life, keep fit and hopefully you will enjoy more years of good health and good sailing.

P.S: A Chiropractor did not help my symptoms, normal medical practice did very little for me, however a very good sports massage therapist helped me a great deal. Different therapies seem to work for different people.
100% my experience as well.
__________________
lateral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 13:55   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 32
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Skipr,

Not trying to be fear monger, but definitely get checked out by a doctor. I, too, had symptoms like that, I was laid up for two weeks once on the other side of the continent from my home as I had that exact thing happen. I stayed on all fours in the floor of a relative's bathroom, pants around ankles, too scared to move. I had them call an ambulance, as I was convinced that one wrong move would have me crippled for life. Turns out it was simply back muscle spasms...
I was in much better physical shape back then, as compared to now, but I do not suffer the back problems, now, that I did then.
My caution is that lower back pain is often the first/only symptom of kidney cancer, which I had. I did not find out until approximately a year after the above incident about it, though, just chalked it up to needing to get in better shape, etc. What sent me to the doctor's office was peeing blood. (I was 36, 49 now) I had a grapefruit sized tumor on my left renal cell (kidney), which was removed along with the kidney. Been clean for 13 years now, and, magically, do not suffer other than normal back pain, too much exertion, twisting wrong, lifting something too heavy, etc...
If you experience being unduly tired all the time, inexplicable back pains, ANYTHING like peeing blood etc, ask for a looksee from the Doc.

Now, even knowing what it felt like, how debilitating it can be, I plan to go sailing, anyway. If my back should go out, (and the more exercise I get sailing, the less that should be a problem,...) it will be one of those times, I lie ahull/heave-to/or? and wait it out, or calling for help. You might consider having muscle relaxants on board, but I would question being drugged up with 'em while in command of a boat. Get a heat pad, place on affected area, and relax, but try to get moving within 48 hours, using your stomach muscles as much as you can.
Hope at least something in there helps you, I know how I felt when I was laid up two thousand miles from home on land.

-mrlassiter
__________________
mrlassiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 14:22   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
Ocean Girl's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In transit ( Texas to wherever the wind blows us)
Boat: Pacific Seacraft a Crealock 34
Posts: 4,115
Images: 2
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Don't despair! During my recovery from surgery I threw my back out. Lord was it hard. But it slowly got better ( 3 1/2weeks!) and now i have zero back pain.

I really think a personal trainer ( check his/her credentials ) and a message therapist is a good investment too.

Hope you get well soon,
Mrs. Rain Dog
__________________
Mrs. Rain Dog~Ocean Girl
https://raindogps34.wordpress.com
Ocean Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 14:28   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,243
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha All,
I am recovering from an episode that leaves me questioning my idea of ever single handing again or even sailing again.
I have good health for my age and have lifted heavy items all my life with only a few tweaks in the back here and there that just required a little bit of lying down to cure. 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. Paralyzed by pain or the fear of pain. The only relief was to straighten out flat on my back with my lower legs elevated. I truly could not move without more excruciating pain and spasms. I was flat for two days.
I am so thankful that I wasn't out sailing when it happened or up working inside my boat when it happened. I don't know what I could have done. I was unable to reach a phone or even drag myself fully onto the bed without so much pain to paralyze me.
So, while lying there thinking about maybe never recovering I had my thoughts of "Will I ever sail again?" "Can I ever work on my boat to finish the project?"
Anyone else with these symptoms?
I have recovered to the point of being able to walk, make coffee, get my own breakfast and put my pants on but who knows what the future holds.
kind regards,
Having been through more than one spell of back pain here is my 5c worth :

When you are in agony lying on the bed it is easy to forget that MOST people go through the odd spell of back pain in their lives and recover fully with NO treatment. Nothing. No surgery. There is no reason to believe that you are any different. The fact that you are up and about is very encouraging.

Modern advice is to get moving as soon as possible and once you are well enough try some GENTLE exercises to strengthen the muscles which support the back and to improve flexibility.

Gentle yoga is really, really good for your back as is anything that improves your flexibility gently. Yoga, swimming, stretches. Around here the adult ed does a specific Gentle Yoga course.

Think about how you sit at home, at work, and in the car. There may be some improvements in sitting posture you can make that will help.

Avoid chiropractors. If you really aren't recovering, find a qualified physiotherapist.

Get "the dummies guide to back pain". It has an excellent explanation of causes, treatments, and it includes a chapter with some simple yoga-like stretches which I made into a 20 minute routine that I do at home.

My spells of back trouble are nothing to do with lifting, it just comes for no apparent reason and goes away just the same.
__________________
MarkSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2012, 14:49   #15
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,577
Re: Lower Back Muscle Spasms

Piriformis muscle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I had trouble with this once. Nasty and hurt for days. But it went away. Gentle back-stretching exercises of the yoga type apparently do wonders if done in the mornings. I understand prevention is the best cure to avoid reoccurances. I strained a ligament in my shoulder last year lowering batteries off a deck. Now I'm more careful. Time has a way of telling you you're not 20 anymore. It's not less strength so much as "easier to injure, slower to heal", or so I've found.
__________________

__________________
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Van Share Back to UK from La Rochelle - November 2011 Mippy Europe & Mediterranean 4 17-02-2012 09:37
Cairns to Perth Part 1 Bartlettsrise Sailor Logs & Cruising Plans 1 11-09-2011 00:38
Crew Wanted: SW FL => Bahamas and Back - August 7-20, 2011 Ocean Roads Crew Archives 5 27-07-2011 09:34



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.