Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kayaking, Leg Numbness, Leg Pain and Sciatica

Pressure placed on the nerve root in you lower back can make you experience leg numbness, tingling, discomfort and pain. In extreme cases it could also cause sciatica.

What You Need to Know About Sciatica is an article that elucidates the fact that sciatica is a symptom of a problem. Such problem is usually something compressing or irritating the nerve roots that comprise the sciatic nerve.
Equally important is the fact that sciatica tends to develop over time, as a result of wear and tear on the structures of the lower spine.
This means that a long time could pass from the time your spine starts having a problem until you're diagnosed with sciatica - sometimes even years.
That is to say that you need to take your back pain seriously and immediately as you begin feeling it, and the same is true for symptoms that you might consider as minor, such as leg numbness, leg pain and tingling. These symptoms could be caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, and this could mean bad news for you.
Using pillows, foam, cushioning and various types of kayak seats and footrests could make you feel less pain and discomfort for a while, but it's is not going to solve your back problem, because the problem lies with the way your kayak is designed to react with your lumbar spine, that is to pressurize it from behind, in an unnatural and non-ergonomic way, using the power of your own legs, which have the most powerful set of muscles in your body.
In other words, your spine doesn't stand a chance to resist such pressure in the long run, even if the muscles surrounding it try to protect it.

Your 'yak back' doesn't necessarily mean you're suffering from sciatica, but it's certainly an indication that something is causing a problem in your lower back, and you shouldn't take it lightly. Seeing a doctor would certainly help you more than listening to the advice of your local kayak outfitter, or seeking advice on an online kayak fishing forum, or a kayaking club.
As much as you'd like to keep paddling or pedaling your sit-in or SOT kayak and fishing from it, being light headed about such things could lead to severe injuries.

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6 comments:

J.P. said...

I've read that these problems are less severe in canoes, because of the paddling posture, and it makes sense.
John P.

Pete said...

I agree, and they are non-existent in W-kayaks.
Pete

Helen Crow said...

I found this excellent online movie on the same website that features the article:
http://www.spine-health.com/video/sciatica-interactive-video
HelenC

click to watch video said...

The link to that video didn't work on my first post...
try clicking where i wrote "click to watch video"

helen

seank said...

Great video! Thanks for posting it!

Sean

actommy said...

The video is indeed very instructive