Jump to content
Loochy88

Fishing with Back Pain / Sciatica

Recommended Posts

So they say that 30% of the population is affected.  How do you guys deal with it while fishing?  

I'm 34 and trying to deal with an awful episode of back pain and sciatica.  Herniated disc.  The whole lot. 

Aside from family and work, fishing is my escape.  I've been obsessed and infatuated with fishing since I was 5 years old.  I find it difficult to stand for more than 30 minutes and get enjoyment out of it right now, but I love the experience so much, I usually just push through the pain for a couple of hours until I just cant stand anymore.  

If I'm bank fishing, I'll usually just pack up and head home at that 2 hour point.  I've found that a TENS machine usually helps, but only for so long. 

Kayak fishing has been out of the question lately.  I can't drag the boat to the water from my truck.  

If I have the energy to put the jon boat in the water, I can take some breaks, sit and relax before another 30 min of standing, but that even that process can only be repeated so many times before I surrender for the day. 

Its tough.  I miss those 8 hour days on the water, but I'm still greatful for the time I'm able to spend out there.  It sort of makes you appreciate it even more, so I guess that's the silver lining.   

I'm contemplating surgery at this point, and I hope through that, the meds I'm starting, or some other treatment, I can eventually get back to normal and pain free, but in the mean time, if anyone has any tips that you've found helpful to keep on the water, I'd love to hear them.  

Thanks in advance for any replies and tight lines everyone!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't personally had any back issues, but my dad has had back issues most of his life. I can see how it affects his ability to get out some days, and from seeing that I truly sympathize for your pain. He'd tried bi-weekly chiropractic appointments, major painkillers, and sometimes wore a TENS unit almost all day. Nothing seemed to do the trick. 

 

He noticed a world of difference when his chiropractor recommended getting on an inversion table for 15-20 minutes a day twice a day. He said that chiropractic adjustments can only go so far with pinched nerves and at a point only decompression of the vertebrae will alleviate the pain. Even if it meant his business from my dad might suffer, he still recommended it, and we saw a nearly instantaneous difference. He didn't jump out and buy Teter Hangups right away, he got a secondhand model on Craigslist to see if it did any good, and when he noticed a dramatic difference he pulled the trigger on a nicer model, which ended up being a great buy for him. The supports and ankle retention system are much better quality and more comfortable. 

 

He got tired of just pounding down painkillers and turned out the inversion tables worked for him......just might do the trick for you too? Might be worth a look.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad to hear that your Dad found relief with the inversion table.  I do actually own one, but I haven't tried long sessions like you describe.  I typically only used the table for several minutes at a time.  I may try longer sessions to see if that gives more relief.  Makes sense that an extended period of decompression would help my issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to retire from my job early due to back issues and sciatica. I used to wade and fish from my personal pontoon in rivers. I can't stand without walking for more than 10 or 15 minutes anymore so wading is out of the question. Fishing from the pontoon is OK, but setting it up, taking it down and loading it in the truck creates some problems. I went out and purchased a second boat, a jet powered jon that I can sit and fish from, just for river fishing. It was either spend the money, or quit fishing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Injury to the lumbar vertebrae S1, L5 to L1 is treatable and disk issues can be repaired without major surgery today. Do not go to your local othropedic Dr., unless you live where top surgeons are availble, do your research. No reason to suffer spinal pain in your 30's. 

Most lumber issues are a result of weak core mussels or injury, both can be resolved.

Sciactic nerve damage is usually felt in the in the lower back down through your outside quad mussels from inflamed tissue near the nerve and can be reduced with steroid shots in lieu of masking with drugs. 

I am speaking from decades of spine pain and with today's technology and knowledge of  lower back pain management there isn't any reason you shouldn't seek professional long term relief.

Tom

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, WRB said:

Injury to the lumbar vertebrae S1, L5 to L1 is treatable and disk issues can be repaired without major surgery today. Do not go to your local othropedic Dr., unless you live where top surgeons are availble, do your research. No reason to suffer spinal pain in your 30's. 

Most lumber issues are a result of weak core mussels or injury, both can be resolved.

Sciactic nerve damage is usually felt in the in the lower back down through your outside quad mussels from inflamed tissue near the nerve and can be reduced with steroid shots in lieu of masking with drugs. 

I am speaking from decades of spine pain and with today's technology and knowledge of  lower back pain management there isn't any reason you shouldn't seek professional long term relief.

Tom


Appreciate the reply Tom.  I should add that I've been seeing a wonderful pain management doctor for the last 7 months.  I've had a series of cortisone injections (si joint and L5 nerve root).  Unfortunately neither has yet brought me any substantial relief.  I'll continue to explore options with the PM doc before I go for surgery.  

My sister is a licensed PT.  I've seen her both officially (in office, through insurance, full visit), and on the side since my flare up in June.  I have been doing all recommended exercises regularly and I just haven't been able to get better.  

I'm in the STL area, and I have appointments next week with 2 highly rated neurosurgeons.  I'm not jumping into surgery, but I do want to educate myself on my options.  A microdiscectomy seems like a relatively low risk procedure with a generally positive outcome.  A fusion scares me to death.   Hopefully they'll recommend the MicroD, if anything at all.  

1 hour ago, Scott F said:

I had to retire from my job early due to back issues and sciatica. I used to wade and fish from my personal pontoon in rivers. I can't stand without walking for more than 10 or 15 minutes anymore so wading is out of the question. Fishing from the pontoon is OK, but setting it up, taking it down and loading it in the truck creates some problems. I went out and purchased a second boat, a jet powered jon that I can sit and fish from, just for river fishing. It was either spend the money, or quit fishing. 

I'd have spent the money too.  Quitting fishing is not an option in my book!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Between 2003, and 2008, my back would go out about once a year. I couldn't stand more than 10 or 15 minutes before the compression started to kill me.  Each time they would send me to physical therapy, but my back would heal up after about 6 to 8 weeks so the physical therapy really didn't do anything. 

After my back healed up in 2008 I started working out my mid section and lower back on a regular basis.  Haven't had any problems since.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That stinks. I hope you find some relief.

 

I also fish with pain (Back, neck and foot) I do it because I would rather be fishing in pain then sitting at home in pain.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, NYWayfarer said:

That stinks. I hope you find some relief.

 

I also fish with pain (Back, neck and foot) I do it because I would rather be fishing in pain then sitting at home in pain.

I hear ya.  That's pretty much what it comes down to.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am lucky to live where world class spine surgeons are located and avoided surgery until it absolutely necessary because the technique and hardware are constantly evolving. My S1-L5 is fused in 2012 requiring cutting open the back and front, now they cut open the back and side to repair the broken vertebrae and replace disk. The problems continues up the lumbar with apt he S1-L5 being fused as the L4, L3 facets start to wear causing pain issue and shot help me so far. Anytime a surgeon cuts it's never the same. Walking, getting out of bed, tying shoes and being continent sometime requires surgery.

I have been able to launch my boat and fish, just avoid any heavy lifting or twisting. Healing is a slow process at my age.

Good luck, sounds like you are on top it.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, WRB said:

I am lucky to live where world class spine surgeons are located and avoided surgery until it absolutely necessary because the technique and hardware are constantly evolving. My S1-L5 is fused in 2012 requiring cutting open the back and front, now they cut open the back and side to repair the broken vertebrae and replace disk. The problems continues up the lumbar with apt he S1-L5 being fused as the L4, L3 facets start to wear causing pain issue and shot help me so far. Anytime a surgeon cuts it's never the same. Walking, getting out of bed, tying shoes and being continent sometime requires surgery.

I have been able to launch my boat and fish, just avoid any heavy lifting or twisting. Healing is a slow process at my age.

Good luck, sounds like you are on top it.

Tom

Great to hear you've been able to stay on the water after everything you've been through. 

Based on your pic, you're not avoiding all heavy lifting! Haha!  Nice fish!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too had issues with the L4-L5 and S1-L5-discs when I was 35.

2 herniations, degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis

I poured concrete for 15 years and prided myself for working circles around the other guys.

I'd throw my back out twice a year but usually after 7 days I'd be better.

Then one day I threw it out and didn't stand straight for almost 2 years and would drag my left leg around.

 

I went to an orthopedic surgeon and they wanted to operate, chiropractor wanted to twist me every which way but loose. I even went to the cleveland clinic to see a spine surgeon. His advise was if I could stand the pain to not have surgery. Anyone in my union that had surgery never only had one they would have to have another several years down the road.

 

It wasn't until I started aqua therapy did I start to get some relief. The water allowed me to straighten out for the first time in 2 years. I would do some very very basic exercises and I was usually surrounded by senior citizens doing the same exercises.(huge blow to my pride 6 months of Aqua therapy and I graduated to doing some regular physical therapy.

 

Now I would say that I am about 95% of my former self.

Doing things at feet level are bothersome but I can split firewood, I fish tournaments and can play with my kids

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife has had several accidents that have given her bad back problems.

The last one was getting bucked off a horse. After that she got an inversion table ( the dr recommended it ) and she got better quickly. Almost miraculously. 

Maybe that would be a solution. 

 

I have never officially hurt my back , but can't stand on a hard surface long without pain. I'm ok indefinetely for bank fishing as long as I'm on a soft bank and/ or keep moving.

I get bad lower back pain if I fish in a boat with a bench seat without back support. But It hasn't stopped me yet , just slowed me down a little. By the next day , I'm fine. 

No solution here , just commiserating. 

Wish you the best.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 been there, done that. hope you get some relief brother.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My L3-5 are degenerating and a few docs have wanted to go in.

Short of surgery, pain management is the first option.

Orthotics with heel lift

Core strength 

Foam roller

Low dose advice, keep a trace amount in your system when fishing.

Don't overthrow the bait, torqueing  your low back makes it worse.

Massage therapy help and if it doesn't, at least it relaxes you.

The list is long, so see a specialist, avoid orthopedic surgeons 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fractured 8 vertabre in different accidents and have arthritis in my lumbar.  I stretch constantly, use an inversion table, see a chiropractor regularly for tune ups, and swim at least three times a week to keep my core strong.  The only time I have back pain is when I’m idle for long periods.

 

I can fish sitting or standing all day as long as I stretch.

 

My wife herniated a disc in a car accident years ago. Between our chiropractor and yoga, her disc worked its way back in place in 6 months.

 

My advice is to see your doctor and follow their instruction.  Best of luck with your back.

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surgery is only when you can't stand the pain anymore and there aren't any other options. I've had three lower back surgeries in my thirty's. I'm fifty now. The first two were open back the third was arthroscopic (much faster recovery). Every time was because I had numbness in my left leg and drop foot because the nerves were pinched. When they explained this can become permanent I elected surgery. This was all before disc replacement. 

 

I sit when I fish off of a boat. Hey... if Bill Dance can do it... I can't stand for long. The only thing I can't do well is pitch to targets. I didn't get a boat until I was in my forty's. Fishing is still fun. Improvise, adapt and overcome. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not all spinal injuries are the same

 

Not all spinal injuries should be addressed with surgery 

 

No all top neurosurgeons live on the left coast

 

I have 3 ruptured discs, torn ligaments, & server nerve damage.

 

I've did everything but surgery & my neurosurgeon is dead set against it.

 

I work my core muscles as much a possible, I have a Chiropractor friend who helps keep everything aligned.

 

Last Sunday I simply stood up, couldn't straighten up, couldn't walk for 5 days, & the level of pain was close to unbearable.

 

Edited by Catt
Operator error
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something that is very hard for most with back pain to grasp is that in most cases it is entirely your fault (excluding trauma injuries or cancer). Your lifestyle and movement patterns have gotten you into this mess, and it's up to you to get yourself out of it. There is no pill that will undo it. You have to take control and make changes in order to regain what you have lost.

 

I had a pretty bad lower back injury a few years ago while squatting. I've been there and it sucks. But if you take the time and put in the effort to fix yourself it will get better. Far too often I see people go to an Ortho and all they can offer is pills and surgery.

 

Check out Kelley Starrett, great resource

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It hurts to hear this but I can RELATE a little bit. My pain may not be back pain but I'm 31 and have had 4 knee surgerys and it's a absolute pain in the rear throughout the day on the water keeping the pain under control. But, if you have never tried kratom tea/ powder, you are about to have your mind blown. I literally just started using this stuff about 3 days ago. It was suggested to me because I was tired of having to take pain pills all the time and I absolutely would not take anything if I knew I was going to be on the water. So I would have to just tough it out until I was off the water. Do some research on it and give it a try. I promise your back pain will be gone for about 4-5hrs. It's amazing. It's all natural and organic. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I relate to you. some days a couple of hours is all you get , but better than nothing . I did purchase a small trailer for my 14 ft John boat and mounted a foot control motor on it, with a tall seat. this does let me fish longer. hope you find relief I know that it is no fun when you hurt.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

egoscue - Travis Perrett (sp) has exercises especially for fishermen - Pete Egoscue's Pain Free book keeps this old body with 4 herniated discs going - use it or lose it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one word: yoga

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this world well.  The above notes on all back injuries being different, individuals responding differently to treatments, and even the idea that one treatment on it's own are pretty spot on.  Here's my story...

 

I was an athlete through my of my 20s, competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, and teaching them alongside MMA.  I was in excellent shape, and like most wrestler's you know, had excellent core and back strength.  And then in 2013 I was rear-ended in a car accident that herniated a total of 7 discs (depending upon which MRIs you read... and interpretation and reading have their own problems...) ranging from my C3-4, through L5-S1.  I've suffered from constant neck and back spasms, severe numbness, tingling, and radiating pain through my arms, weakness, numbness in my left leg, sleeplessness, etc.  There were times when sitting for more than 30 minutes was intolerable and it felt nearly impossible to hold my head up.  This isn't touching on how it changed my career, economics, other elements of my lifestyle, or the psychological mess that followed.  In short, this forum's censors wouldn't allow me to properly describe how awful it has been at times.  That said, this forum was also helpful for me in that it allowed me to learn and share even when I've been too banged up to get out on the water. 

 

As for treatment, I've had nerve ablations, steroid injections, chiropractic and massage work, stretching exercises, a wide variety of PT, inversion/decompression, TENS, every painkiller and muscle relaxer imaginable (Dilaudid makes you feel completely numb to the world, and taking it really shed some light on how someone can become so easily addicted to heroin), and ultimately an L5-S1 fusion.  To say the least, the accident has put me through the ringer, but I have learned some things.

 

Being in Philadelphia, I have incredible health care options and one of the best bar surgeons in the world performed my fusion.  Generally, the surgery has a lot of risks and doesn't always fix the problems, so it was a last resort.  I was not a candidate for having the disc shaved (mentioned above), and I don't know what my surgery decisions would have been without access to Dr. Vaccaro and Rothman Institute.  If sciatica is your issue and you are a candidate for having the disc shaved, the recovery can be very fast and with little risk.  I'd advise that route before looking into a fusion or disc replacement where possible.  If surgery becomes something you're seriously considering, please PM me and I'll be glad to offer whatever advice and answer any kinds of questions I can.  

 

My surgery was in 2015, the recovery was a very long process that took close to 2 years before I started to feel a new "normal" (saying I felt healed or 100% wouldn't be accurate).  Now, I have to be mindful of certain things, make sure that I'm in the gym exercising, and not allowing myself to spend prolonged periods in any one position for any long period of time.  

 

As for fishing, I was able to get out more in 2017 than I had in a very long time.  I have a very comfortable kayak that allows me to be out for a full day if I'm smart and wading in trout streams has become possible again.  Do I have rough days afterwards? Sometimes, but compared to what I was feeling daily before surgery, I'll kindly accept them.  I wear a back brace probably 90% of the time I'm on the water and it does seem to help provide support.  

 

Hopefully some of this helps.  I'm still dealing with the legal mess that's still going on, and typing this out is kind of cathartic for me.  Good luck, and if I can help in any way, please reach out.  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caution about back supports, they are good during the healing process and can be degrading if used beyond that period because your core mussels weaken. It may seem logical to take the stress off your spine by wearing a back brace, I suggest you discuss this with your spinal surgeon. My GP told me to wear a back brace when doing any lifting or twisting, my surgeon* said don't wear it, work on strengthening your core mussels. 

There are good spinal institutes throughout the country in major cities who train doctors that practice in smaller cities. My advice is go to the top doctors who train the others, it's your spine and don't want to go to the best doctors to repair what a less skilled Doctor did. Do your research.

Tom

* Rick Delamarter, MD Dir Cedars Sinai spine center.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    bass fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing rods

    fishing rods


    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    bass fish

    fishing poles

    Truck Caps

    fishing reels
    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×