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Exiled in Scotland...
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<font color='#000080'>I've been suffering lower back pain on prolonged dive trips. Its right in the small of the back just above my buttox. I have a feeling its because of my weight belt.

My setup is as follows:
Buddy Commando BCD with single 12l
Scubapro 5 velcro pocket weight belt with 13 kg
Typhoon Neo Compressed Neophrene suit.
Medium thickness Weezle.
(I've been told that the weezle whilst being warm is quite lofty and traps air which I have to be balance with weight to sink initially from the surface.

I find that diving a number of dives over a weekend results in lower back discomfort as my weight belt sits right on the small of my back. I have thought about getting a harness but don't know if this will help? Would exercise in strengthening my lower back help?

Dave C
 

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Yeah, used to happen to me a lot at one time. It's no surprise really as our spine is evolved to be stressed vertically, not horizontally.
The simple solution: don't stay in the one position too long, if you're ever buddied with me you'll notice that during a dive I'll do barrel rolls, or fin on my back or go delibrately inverted etc this is to give my back a bit of a rest from the constant tug of a 12kg weightbelt (for sea diving). Works for me until I get around to making/buying one of those "alphabet" weights for the twinset (note avoiding the discussion on whether it's a P or a D or whatever letter weight
)

HTH
Steve
 

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Shipwrecked & Comatose, drinking fresh mango juice
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<font color='#810541'>in your pocket weight belt, do you have shot or hard weights?  I used to get a bit of a backache with the hard weights, with the shotbelt it hurts less.

Andy
 

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As Steve said, but, I switched to a weight harness and that eliminated it. I then mounted all but 4Kg's on the wing, and that also removed it.

Andrew
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Dave
Having just spent a few days crippled with back pain you have my sympathies. As already said shot is better than hard stuff and a harness is better still as it rests in a different place. Can you get any of that weight onto the tank etc rather than your belt.
Steve is also correct excercide is vital, both pre/post dive and during. It may be worth your while visiting a physio to get some excercises specific to your needs. It will be cheaper than needing several visits cos you've done your back in.

HTH
MAtt
 

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"prolonged dive trips"
Remember a "girdle" pain is a classic DCI symptom.
 

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Street Cleansing Operative
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<font color='#000080'>I've got a bust disc in that part of my back - had it since before I started diving. It can be murder, but it shouldn't be a problem if you look after it. I've always used integrated weights so that I wouldn't have the weight of a belt across my spine. There are some disadvantages though, so maybe a harness would be a good place to start.

When I next see you remind me to show you some of the exercises I do to look after my injury. However, there's nothing to beat lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, just rolling your knees fron side to side. Sorts most niggles out.
 

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Moving weights might help, but I use a v-weight and have still had problems.

I saw a physio for similar symptoms.  This worked for me, but might not for you if you have different probs:

1) Stand up.  Both hands on small of back.  Lean back with head forward (or you fall over) and hold for 10.  Repeat until bored.

2) Assume the press up position. Raise your upper body (hyper-extend) without using hands.  Use hands once you're stuck.  The idea is to keep your nads on the floor as much as possible.  10 reps. As many sets as you can be bothered to do.  I do one set, but very slowly.

I do them at night if I've had a twinge during the day.  Other than that, get to the gym, go running and warm up and down.  And get the lazy b*gger in your LDS to hump your tanks about - he's paid to shift 'em!  



HTH
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Dave,

I'd go with the concensus of shot/harness setup. I've recenly bought a bowstone harness and can vouch for it, in fact, you hardly know your wearing weight. Trim is also bob on now


Failing that, pump yourself with bruffen (when topside) a good anti-inflamitry, you should know that
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (dcrampt @ Feb. 09 2004,13:19)]Would exercise in strengthening my lower back help?
Definately.

Similar to Mdemons,
Lie face done on the bed, clench buttocks, raise one leg 6" hold for 10 seconds then lower, raise other leg 6" hold for 10 then lower, then both together and repeat sequence for say ten times then gradually increase, only takes about 10 mins per night, beleive me your back will improve dramaticly.

Another one is to lay on your back and raise your middle torso and hold for 10 and lower and repeat.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (diving dude @ Feb. 10 2004,02:03)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (dcrampt @ Feb. 09 2004,13:19)]Would exercise in strengthening my lower back help?
Another one is to lay on your back and raise your middle torso and hold for 10 and lower and repeat.
Don't clench your buttocks on the latter one though. Or thats what a Pilates instructor told me on a boat in the red sea. Or perhaps it was an excuse for her to grope my arse


Also, the missus used to have major back pain after some dives. We think this was due to a couple of things: First she carrying a lot of weight around her waist (lead - not a euphemism) this caused her to be constantly trying to tip herself forward to get horizontal. To solve this I made a couple of pockets that fit on the cam band to hold 2kg (each) of lead. Presto - no more back pain.

Except if you put the pockets on lopsidedly then instead of twisting forwards she twisted to the side. Happened to me once althrough this was because my weightbelt was lopsided.
That really hurt. Solution is to make sure that it's on straight.  


I'll be bringing the pockets to Stoney if you're interested in having a look.

Laters,
   Janos
 

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I thought I would resurrect this old thread rather than start a new one. I have very bad lower back pain at the moment. I have been to the chiropractor and she has not stopped me diving but says I will need to go very carefully for the next little while. We are not diving until Scapa in August now (purposely left July free as we moved house at the beginning of the month). Apart from trying some of the exercises above and making sure I kit up as close to the exit into the water as possible has anyone got any other hints or tips?

For those who are interested, it is the joint between the 2 blades of the pelvis and the base of the spine that are not functioning correctly. Apparently it will respond to treatment but at the moment I am struggling to even walk from one end of the lab to the other and driving to work is a whole new level of pain!

Paul
 

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I share your pain. Or at least I used to. I asked this question a little while back on YD, and got a variety of helpful responses. Now

a) I'm very, very careful when I move tanks around. Especially getting them out of the car

b) I do back exercises each night. Except when I forget. They're basically pilates exercises.

My back pain is (touch wood) much reduced.

Janos
 

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I bought This book


I'm not sure how it compares to other books, and I haven't got past chapter one yet. But then chapter one is sufficent for my needs. Your chiropractor might also have some recommendations.

Janos
 

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I have two worn out discs at the base of my spine - showed up black on the MRI scan so it's just something that I have to live with - daily painkillers. I switched to a shot belt and found that made a huge difference. A wide belt which spreads the weight across a four to six inch area is the best. I found that it wasn't so much the weight itself but the point pressure that was causing the problem. A friend of mine switched to a harness but still had a problem because when he was horizontal in the water, it still caused point pressure.

I also use a wide webbing loop to hold my weightbelt to the BCD waist strap. This is large enough so that the free end of the weightbelt easily slips out of it when the buckle is released but it stops the weightbelt slipping down, particularly when coming up the ladder at the end of the dive.
 

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I use a shot pouch belt at the moment and that is certainly better than using blocks (as I do occasionally when I am stupid enough to forget my weightbelt!). I seem to be O.K when I am in kit and heading into the water unless I need to twist or turn in any way. I have to be very careful to get help kitting up (unless there is a bench) and dekitting. The worst bit is standing up from a seated position when kitting on a bench.

Paul (Currently sat at work with an ice pack down my shorts looking like a right pillock!)
 

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Sorry to hear about your bad back, I'm a pain nurse (!) so let's see if I can give you any help.
Firstly, at least 80% of people will have episodes of back pain during their lifetime. This makes it a "normal" occurance. Most back pain resolves without doing anything. This alone is reassuring.

Current evidence based practice suggests that the best way to manage mechanical back pain is to remain as active as possible. This is probably best achieved by using non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as Voltarol or Brufen to reduce pain so that you can remain active.

You should also change position frequently and avoid sitting for prolonged periods at the computer or driving long distances. Resting and "being careful" tends to make musculo skeletal pain worse.

If you have localised low back pain only, it is ok to lift things sensibly. If however,you have referred leg symptoms or numbness around your "saddle" area, this potentially a problem that might need surgery and you shoud seek medical advice. This indicates that part of a disc could be pressing on a nerve.

I agree that pilates exercises are great for core strength but they are hard to do when you are in agony. Try lying on your back and hugging your knees to stretch the back muscles out.

So..... keep active, use painkillers, stay at work if you possibly can (distraction helps), stretch, get a nice massage and you will hopfully soon feel better.

Keep us posted!

all the best
Vonny
 

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I've been living with back pain for the last six years after getting a kicking at work and my lower spine getting broken and a disc rupturing (L5S1). Had bloody awful sciatica for months and eventually had to resort to surgery to clear out all the mess that was strumming away on my nerves.

Since that I've not been too bad. As Vonny says, it's important to stay active. 'Protecting' your back only leads it to stiffen and makes the problem worse. Use anti-inflamatory pain killers to keep you on the go and gently exercise and stretch your back muscles as much as you can. In the long term, the 'core-stability' exercices that Janos recommends do a world of good.

As for diving, my vote goes to a decent shot-belt as well. I tried a few options (including integrated systems) and settled with a Bowstone belt, which I find the most comfortable. I don't do much shore diving, try to pick boats well equipped for kitting up sitting down and have got my kitting up routine nicely squared away so I'm into the water with the minimum of fuss.

I stay clear of heavy twin tanks but you might be interested to know that I did a lot of research and maths and found that the optimum rig to use, giving you useful quantities of air, redundancy and keeping your out-of-the-water weight to a minimum is 300 bar twin 7's. The tanks themselves are not the lightest, but they are negatively bouyant when empty so you don't need to carry much lead. As a complete rig it's several kilos lighter than a 12 and a pony.

One last bit of general advice - avoid vigorous sexual activity! I came a cropper that way a couple of times. Once my wife had to call an ambulance to me and as we both know the ambulance crews very well through work it took me a very long time to put that one to bed! Take it slow. ;)
 

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I also found that the angle at which you stand up can make a big difference.

Even now, I find that standing with my heels on a block of wood relieves the pressure on my back. For a while, I used to carry a block of wood with me and I stood up first with my heels on this block before stepping off it. This is obviously dependant upon the nature of the damage to your back but you may find some technique which will help you.

The painkillers which I have found to be most effective are Tramadol - Iboprofen did nothing for me.
 
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