Back pain - back rest set up

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CONTADOR
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Back pain - back rest set up

Post by CONTADOR » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:35 am

What's the correct way to set up a back rest for sea kayaking?
Tight, so it provides support or loose so you sit yourself up straight?
Been getting a sore lower back lately so any tips appreciated.
Cheers.

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MikeB
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by MikeB » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:43 am

Somewhere in between - see also this discussion on back pain etc - it might be the seat which is causing it, or other things like general muscle tone.

For me, it was a seat without adequate sacral support. Didnt matter how tight or slack the backrest was, or even what type of backrest I used, adn I used several, the culprit was the seat.

Different boat - different seat & backrest combo = problem solved

Mike.

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Jim
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by Jim » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:40 am

As a whitewater paddler primarily I set my backrest up reasonably tight.
My dad was having trouble with back pain and was told try without a backrest at all and so far it's solved his problems.

I wonder if we really need to work on 'core stability' to strengthen the abdominals and remove the reliance on auxiliary back support?

CONTADOR
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by CONTADOR » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:34 pm

Cheers for ideas.

My back seems to be fine when paddling hard, I guess because you are pulling yourself forward and upright (hence no backrests in K1). But problem seems to be when ambling along for long periods.. I'll have a try at this sacral support thing and see if that works.

Cheers

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Kate D
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by Kate D » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:49 am

You could also try building up the back of the seat with padding so as to encourage you to sit with your pelvis tipped forward. This will maintain the forward facing curve in your lower back, assisting you to sit up and use your trunk muscles for paddling. Most seats have the thighs higher than buttocks encouraging you to sit with a rounded back and lean against a fairly high backrest. Doing this makes it almost impossible to use your trunk muscles for propulsion.

It did occur to me as I wrote this that this is probably what other respondants mean by sacral support.

Try getting someone to video you paddling, ideally from the side so you can assess your own posture in the boat. Often we think we are sitting up when in fact it looks completely different.

Regarding the back rest, try moving it lower in the boat, more of a buttock rest than back rest. A high back rest may well prevent trunk rotation by holding your lower back in a fixed position.

It is interesting that your problems disappear when you paddle fast. I guess you are sitting more upright and using greater trunk rotation. How about developing your paddling style so that when you are cruising slowly you maintain the poture and rotation, just apply it more gently to paddle more slowly. This takes quite a lot of discipline not to slip into a lazy tecnique when bimbling about slowly.

Hope you solve the problem and get back to pain free paddling.

Another thought. Get yourself properly warmed up before lifting boats off the roofrack. Get help with the lifting to avoid injuring your back.

pamf
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by pamf » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:42 am

I agree re sacral support and Kate's point re "more of a buttock rest". I came off the water recently with an incredibly sore lower back. I swapped out of an Avocet and into an Isel - all I can say is, bliss! The Isel seat had great sacral support, whereas the Avocet's back support isn't supporting the sacrum. It really brought home to me the difference.

pamf
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by pamf » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:21 pm

MikeB asked me to post some photos on this thread of the difference between the Valley seat and the Rockpool (Isel) seat when I had them available. I now have 3 to review: the Valley old-style standard foam seat (Nordkapp LV), the Valley new-style standard foam seat (Avocet) and the Rockpool Isel glass seat. Not being an ergonomics expert, I'm not sure precisely what it is that makes the Rockpool Isel seat so pain-free for me, although - as I said - I suspect it is sacral/lumbar support related. I've had a few outings in both styles of Valley seat that have become pretty torturous due to back pain, the last one being in the new-style Avocet. I have no such problem in the Isel.

Valley old seat (Nordkapp LV):
Image
Valley new seat (Avocet):
Image
Rockpool Isel seat:
Image

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ChrisS
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by ChrisS » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:37 pm

I made a back rest for my Explorer from outfitting foam:

Image

I removed the original NDK backrest partly because of its tendency to pinch against the seat and partly because I quite often ended up sitting on it after rescues. This style of back rest gives you something to brace against when rolling etc. but allows full trunk rotation. I got the idea from Rowland Woolven.

Here someone has gone a bit further and carved out a groove for their spine, but I haven't felt the need to do that.
Last edited by ChrisS on Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Ceegee
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Re: Back pain - back rest set up

Post by Ceegee » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:01 pm

I'm sure we have had a thread on this topic before...

Ditto Chris
Image
This is how I did it - Super comfy and a great help with cowboy re-entries, re-entry & roll etc.
Image

Steve
Cheers,
Steve C. G.

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