L5-S1 issues from paddling

VonMeister

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Well, here's the theory on that. I do sit in an office and car all day soaking up stress, then go immediately to surf. That creates lower back problems. Plus, as mentioned, a lack of thoracic spine mobility effectively transfers strain from where the T-spine would take it to the lower back. Add in a heavy paddling arch and the twisting involved in laying down turns, and a lot of strain is applied to the L5S1 joint. Add in that the problems started during a period of heavy lifting and it's not far-fetched to think that a deadlifting injury occurred, followed by just enough repeated stress on the joint to keep flaring it up.

However, your skepticism is correct. My L5S1 joint is fine. The problems I'm having are from pelvic floor dysfunction. It seems that any time I do a core bracing activity - lifting, paddling, squatting on the board to turn, etc - I squeeze the pelvic floor muscles along with the abs. After a while, they get sore and too tight and pull other sh!t out of place. Sitting too long also exacerbates it. The PT is mostly focused on retraining to brace the abs without the pelvic floor and relax the latter, and it's working very well. Some exercises still cause an almost-instant flareup of pain - and the ones that do are not at all the ones I would have expected - but the general trend is positive, and I can surf with much less pain now than several months ago

And yes, Von Meister, I value myself enough to take a break from lifting, which I've been doing regularly for a decade and which will remain a lifelong activity for me, in order to get my body functioning correctly again. Although, given that many of the PT exercises are simply bodyweight lifts, I guess I haven't quit lifting as much as temporarily changed my routine.

You don't have pelvic floor disfunction....or you do and just left out the part about not being able to hold your bladder or bowels. Have you recently given birth?

You have an imagination of what's wrong because recurring pain is frustrating and now you have a hyper sensitivity to benign neural inputs. You also have a PT that is selling you this garbage as a way of keeping you on a routine that makes up a steady source of revenue.
 
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Autoprax

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This is true most of the time. I agree that it's important to get strong for health purposes.

The pain can also be sending a message that something is wrong too.
 

GWS_2

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Every adult male is going to have some sort of negative pathology at L5-S1. Things degenerate over time and mean old mr gravity is relentless. Sitting on a board can aggravate your lower back as can paddling or standing because it is right in the middle of your spinal erectors and beneath your abdominal muscles which are subconsciously contracting all the time whenever you are doing any activity.
If I remember right, everybody past the age of 18 years of age has "degenerative disc disease" at that level. I'm not disputing that surfing can make it hurt. I'm just not really buying the concept that paddling has caused any damage at L5/S1. Judging from what I have read it's more likely a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting in a chair for hours every day under stress. IMO, that's a killer. It used to be office workers had much higher rates of back surgery than people with physical jobs. The worst back pain I ever had was during my years as portfolio manager. The solution was to read Sarno, (here it comes) ditch the idea that you were damaged, and go to the gym and get stronger and more flexible. Going to a PT for an extended period plays into the mindset of being damaged, being fragile. That makes any activity stressful which induces tension which induces pain.
 

ElOgro

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You don't have pelvic floor disfunction....or you do and just left out the part about not being able to hold your bladder or bowels. Have you recently given birth?

You have an imagination of what's wrong because recurring pain is frustrating and now you have a hyper sensitivity to benign neural inputs. You also have a PT that is selling you this garbage as a way of keeping you on a routine that makes up a steady source of revenue.
I don’t have any of that stuff, I do have an X-ray that shows my l5/s1 is herniated to shitsville.
 

VonMeister

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I don’t have any of that stuff, I do have an X-ray that shows my l5/s1 is herniated to shitsville.
So does every male our age. Every disc from L3-L4 down in my lower back is desiccated to the point that the spacing is reduced and the disc shows up black on MRI's. All are or were herniated several mm's at one time. Knowing this was my greatest cause of pain because I knew I was broken and sentenced to a life of back pain. I was told by doctors, surgeons, PT's to never squat or pick up anything heavy again. No running and just light walks in comfortable shoes and to take it easy for ever.

Now I'm twice as strong as men half my age and pain free. Sure I get a few niggles from time to time but they are resolved quickly by activity and generally ignored.
 
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ElOgro

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So does every male our age. Every disc from L3-L4 down in my lower back is desiccated to the point that the spacing is reduced and the disc shows up black on MRI's. All are or were herniated several mm's at one time. Knowing this was my greatest cause of pain because I knew I was broken and sentenced to a life of back pain. I was told by doctors, surgeons, PT's to never squat or pick up anything heavy again. No running and just light walks in comfortable shoes and to take it easy for ever.

Now I'm twice as strong as men half my age and pain free. Sure I get a few niggles from time to time but they are resolved quickly by activity and generally ignored.
Mine has been with me since way before I was old. I understand about degeneration with age, believe me. It started from a specific trauma event and I knew immediately I was hosed. Barely made it 5 minutes home. It’s been visiting off and on for two decades but has backed off recently as I lost weight down to what I was in my mid 20s and I know that helped but one wrong move and it’s not like a niggle.
 
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VonMeister

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Mine has been with me since way before I was old. I understand about degeneration with age, believe me. It started from a specific trauma event and I knew immediately I was hosed. Barely made it 5 minutes home. It’s been visiting off and on for two decades but has backed off recently as I lost weight down to what I was in my mid 20s and I know that helped but one wrong move and it’s not like a niggle.
Get too close to the stage and those donkeys can land a kick.
 
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Chee-to

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You don't have pelvic floor disfunction....or you do and just left out the part about not being able to hold your bladder or bowels. Have you recently given birth?

You have an imagination of what's wrong because recurring pain is frustrating and now you have a hyper sensitivity to benign neural inputs. You also have a PT that is selling you this garbage as a way of keeping you on a routine that makes up a steady source of revenue.
That's an issue with understrengthened or too loose pelvic floor muscles. As you've pointed out, it occurs in postpartum women a lot. I have the opposite problem. Fortunately, PT has given me a much better mind muscle connection: I can feel when I'm clenching or firing them now, where it wasn't conscious before.

PT today included kettlebell and barbell squats and Romanian deadlifts, but with form checks to make sure I was releasing the pelvic floor appropriately and the go ahead to lift again with additional stretching in between sets. What part of the garbage routine for meager insurance revenue is my PT selling me there?

I also started reading the Sarno book, which is interesting and tracks some of my experience. I don't think I'm broken, and I believe there's a huge emotional or myoneural component to it. But the PT is what is teaching me to focus on and relax the muscle.

Look, I know you mean well, and I understand where you're coming from. I once had a "sports medicine" doctor tell me never to squat again and to do differently-angled sets of leg presses instead when I complained to him about patellar tendon pain during squatting. I ignored that. Good PTs aren't the problem. I can imagine that bad or incompetent ones are quite harmful.
 

VonMeister

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PT today included kettlebell and barbell squats and Romanian deadlifts, but with form checks to make sure I was releasing the pelvic floor appropriately and the go ahead to lift again with additional stretching in between sets. What part of the garbage routine for meager insurance revenue is my PT selling me there?
The stretching. Aside from zero medical evidence that shows static stretching as useful for warm up or injury prevention, it is actually increasing your chance of injury by doing it between sets.
 

tacos

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I think I remember 000 posting something along the lines a while back: “the surfers I see stretching on the beach always look the stiffest in the water”.

My stretch/warm-up is the paddle out (or jog across the sand).
 

GWS_2

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You stretch after a workout. Work up to your max range of motion by slowly increasing your range as you warm up. After your done, relaxed and sweaty, THEN stretch.
 

VonMeister

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Stretching feels good, but even after a workout there is still no medical benefit.

Generally using limbs as levers to pull joints into a position of subjective discomfort is more harmful than useful for the soft tissues that make up a joint. If you're trying to lengthen a muscle, ask yourself why. You just worked into a full range of motion.
 

GWS_2

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Stretching feels good, but even after a workout there is still no medical benefit.

Generally using limbs as levers to pull joints into a position of subjective discomfort is more harmful than useful for the soft tissues that make up a joint. If you're trying to lengthen a muscle, ask yourself why. You just worked into a full range of motion.
I suspect you are correct when the range of motion needed is fairly minimal. The risk outweighs the benefit. Once you start getting involved in something that requires a little bit more flexibility the difference stretching makes is easily quantifiable. All you have to do is start comparing range of motion one day to the next as you stretch. ROM will increase. Period. When I was younger I could round kick you in the side of the head. Warmed up. That was out on the edge for me. Attainable for 6' tall targets (dropped down in a stance) but it required some stretching. When you stop the stretching, when you attempt that same range of motion, there is more tension in the muscles. Tense muscles move slow. Not good. Even on the lower kicks, more flexibility makes it easier to kick with less tension which produces a faster kick. (kick is tensed at point of focus) Now, via aging and injuries and titanium parts, I can put a kick up under your armpit if I'm stretching. If not, I'm down to the lower ribs with that round kick. Not bad for a 60+ year old man. In a real situation I probably wouldn't be kicking much higher than the thigh. So I can live with it for the moment. No doubt things ain't getting any better as time moves on. But yeah, stretching works if you have a need that requires above average flexibility. (or more flexibility than you currently are able to produce)

Decades back, they used to make you warm up, THEN stretch out and then train. I hated stretching. So when I was self training I would skip the stretching and just start working with a heavy bag. Start low and slowly work my way up. I found I had better flexibility/technique without the pre workout stretching. Years later, that observation was widely adopted as being a better way to go. But the post workout stretch still provides unquestionable increases in flexibility. If you are stretching to the point of pain you are going too far. You need to feel the pull, give it a little time and wait for your body to let you comfortably move further. As you age you will find that stretching helps significantly with surfing. The ability to get smoothly and quickly to your feet, with your feet placed correctly on a small board is easier when things are loose and flexible. No, you probably couldn't call it a "medical benefit" but there is a definite performance benefit when done correctly.
 

VonMeister

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I'll bet you could still roundhouse skully in the head. You can still kick waist high....right?

Tense muscles contract quicker than measurably slacker muscles.

I get what you're saying and there's a ying and yang for everything. I can't do the splits, but if I had a requirement to do them I could probably get there after a period of time and it would require tons of stretching up until the point of performing the movement.

For me, a light jog and a couple waves is enough to get me loosened up enough to surf. Then again I have naturally loose groin and hips but oddly tight hamstrings, which is perfect for surfing because I'm naturally mobile but able to rebound off my hamstrings off bottom turns or off the top......but would have trouble kicking waist high.
 
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