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Anyone here ski with a bad back?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I decided to end my moutnain biking season with a debilitating back injury. Doctor claims it's a ligament tear which'll take 3 months to heal IF I were to take it easy. 3 months, that's November, December and January. The way I reason, skiing IS taking it easy :)
post #2 of 25
 I had a debilitating sciatica problem that caused me constant pain for over a year.  I skied and taught everyday anyway, but I know it affected me.  I had a poor showing at an assessment that I think had something to do with the drugs I took to dial down the pain so I could move better.  That day I took 2 hits of prednisone (steroid) 2 somas (muscle relaxer) and 1 vicadine (narcotic pain killer).  The conditions were icy and I did badly.  I was finally able to kill the problem with assisted isolated stretching with Matt Kelly here in Jackson.  Last time I spoke with Bob Peters, he was seeing Matt for a problem similar to mine.  The doctors and other health care pros that I went to thought that I had a herniated L5 or L6.  It's good now, and I am careful what I do because I really don't want it back.  It was really freaky when I was in the doctors office and he was doing the knee reflex hammer thing and I had no reflex on the affected side.  He looked me in the eye and said "You have a serious, serious problem here".

I have some sort of shoulder issue right now, probably a torn rotater cuff from rafting.  I'm trying to take it easy with that side so it's good to go for the ski season.  I'm going anyway.  It sucks getting old.
post #3 of 25
ligament tear in the back? Where and which one?  Is this based on a MRI or after seeng a specialist?
post #4 of 25
I've only skied with strained back muscles, no tears; used those back muscle patches to help while i skied.

i wouldn't try that with a tear though and i would recommend throwing in back excercises twice a week starting now if have ever had back issues. one pulled muscle can pull you off the mountain for 2 days.

i recommend back extensions and situps to strengthen that middle and to help keep that shelf up for us guys.
post #5 of 25
I skied two years ago with a slipped disc in my back. I had gone to the choirpractor and they put it in and i did physical therapy for it for 2 weeks before I went skiing and it felt fine but the last day of four I caught an edge on a patch of snow and my leg kicked out and instantly i felt the disc slip back out. I took like 6 ibuprofen and kept skiing. After that though I had to soak in the hot tub and ice it and then another 2 weeks of PT when i got back.
post #6 of 25
My girlfriend had a Sacroilliac Joint injury in July of 2008.  She skipped skiing last year because of it and is still in pain.

This year we're going to hit the slopes, so I'm trying to see if there is anyone else on the forum that has had this injury.  Not sure how she will ski, but want to take precautionary measures.
post #7 of 25
Like Finndog said, torn ligament in back? That sounds unusual. What kind of Dr are you seeing and what is diagnosis based on?
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

ligament tear in the back? Where and which one?  Is this based on a MRI or after seeng a specialist?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maui Steve View Post

Like Finndog said, torn ligament in back? That sounds unusual. What kind of Dr are you seeing and what is diagnosis based on?
 

He's an orthopedic surgeon. No MRIs. Just an X-ray that didn't show anything. I've seen him for other injuries though. The last injury was a shoulder injury (bad pole-plant on bumps) earlier this year. There was an MRI for that. Perhaps it's too soon for another (insurance nonsense).
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 I had a debilitating sciatica problem that caused me constant pain for over a year.  I skied and taught everyday anyway, but I know it affected me.  I had a poor showing at an assessment that I think had something to do with the drugs I took to dial down the pain so I could move better.  That day I took 2 hits of prednisone (steroid) 2 somas (muscle relaxer) and 1 vicadine (narcotic pain killer).  The conditions were icy and I did badly.  I was finally able to kill the problem with assisted isolated stretching with Matt Kelly here in Jackson.  Last time I spoke with Bob Peters, he was seeing Matt for a problem similar to mine.  The doctors and other health care pros that I went to thought that I had a herniated L5 or L6.  It's good now, and I am careful what I do because I really don't want it back.  It was really freaky when I was in the doctors office and he was doing the knee reflex hammer thing and I had no reflex on the affected side.  He looked me in the eye and said "You have a serious, serious problem here".

I have some sort of shoulder issue right now, probably a torn rotater cuff from rafting.  I'm trying to take it easy with that side so it's good to go for the ski season.  I'm going anyway.  It sucks getting old.
 

Couldn't have put it better myself. Hope you feel better soon.

We have similar injuries in reverse. I have a slap lesion from a bad pole plant last year.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin M View Post

My girlfriend had a Sacroilliac Joint injury in July of 2008.  She skipped skiing last year because of it and is still in pain.

This year we're going to hit the slopes, so I'm trying to see if there is anyone else on the forum that has had this injury.  Not sure how she will ski, but want to take precautionary measures.

I'm sorry to hear about your girlfriend. Hope she feels good enough to ski this year.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skicougar View Post


I've only skied with strained back muscles, no tears; used those back muscle patches to help while i skied.

i wouldn't try that with a tear though and i would recommend throwing in back excercises twice a week starting now if have ever had back issues. one pulled muscle can pull you off the mountain for 2 days.

i recommend back extensions and situps to strengthen that middle and to help keep that shelf up for us guys.

I'm starting physical therapy today. I'm hoping 4 weeks of PT will do the trick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

I skied two years ago with a slipped disc in my back. I had gone to the choirpractor and they put it in and i did physical therapy for it for 2 weeks before I went skiing and it felt fine but the last day of four I caught an edge on a patch of snow and my leg kicked out and instantly i felt the disc slip back out. I took like 6 ibuprofen and kept skiing. After that though I had to soak in the hot tub and ice it and then another 2 weeks of PT when i got back.

That's pretty extreme. I'd probably opt for a toboggan ride.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5ki8um View Post

That's pretty extreme. I'd probably opt for a toboggan ride.

It was the last day of skiing for the year, so I figured finish out the day.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

  I was finally able to kill the problem with assisted isolated stretching with Matt Kelly here in Jackson.  Last time I spoke with Bob Peters, he was seeing Matt for a problem similar to mine.
 

I have been looking for someone like that locally without luck so far. I need some "body work".

I have been doing the Mckenzie Method which seems to help but you need to be really diligent with it. I also have the book "Treat Your Own Back" by Mckenzie which has helped.

My pain doesn't occur until after the activity. I feel pretty good while moving day 1 but then the pain sets in, recovery seems to be slow and subsequent days are difficult.

Interestingly I was able to kayak (nothing aggressive) most of the summer though with no issues.
post #14 of 25
 My guy, Matt, uses the Mattes Method.  He uses an adjustable table which you get "strapped" to while he guides you through specific stretches.  Matt also gave me several exercises to do at home, of which I did at least 30 reps of each twice a day.  These exercises were mostly core strengthening.  I am sure that my recovery was helped a lot by my diligence in doing these exercises.  I also took drugs as I mentioned before and saw a chiropractor and an accupunturist.  They all helped to some degree, but I credit Matt Kellys' stretching the most.  This went on for almost a year before I got to Matt.  I was ready to do almost anything to MAKE IT GO AWAY!
post #15 of 25
i've missed time with a bad back 4 of the last 6 seasons.... i missed 5 weeks (and 170 inches of pow) last season and could barely walk all but a month between xmas and may.  i have L5 - S1 disc problems.

i started doing PT this winter... probably about a half dozen sessions.  it helped to get me back on the slopes, but what has worked miracles for me is SWIMMING.

i was in so much pain i almost canceled my annual hilton head trip in may.  when i got to hilton head i was miserable and barely able to walk.  for the hell of it i started swimming laps in the pool one day... i did about 10 minutes of breast stroke and it really made me feel better.  at that point i started swimming laps every day (about 30-50 minutes worth) and by the end of the week my back pain was almost completely gone.  within another week it was almost like i never had a back problem!

i've been swimming 4-5 times a week since and feel great.  i've lost about 40 pounds since xmas and i already know i can crush it on the hill.... i went down to mammoth two weeks ago and skied my face off.  it was my first day of the year (and a 4 hour drive each way) and i skied aggressively all day long with no pain.... 6+ hrs, 36 laps, 40k vertical, no groomers, 8 hours in the car, no pain!

i'm ready to ski like an animal this year....


here's a TR from my mammoth trip from skilogs:

 Mammoth Day Trip - October 17th, 2009


post #16 of 25
im not sure if this counts but i crashed and took out the bnet and broke my tail bone, then was out for the season. then during dryland my lower back hurt when i sat up/sat down and when i pounded my feet (running) but withing 5 weeks it was fine.

no i would not reccomend skiing with a hurt back - its no fun. youd be better off resting it and having fun, solid skiing then unplesant skiing and having to take the rest of the season off...
post #17 of 25
The problem with a bad back is all the advice you get to fix it. There are so many different possible reasons for back pain that it's easy to go to 3 different people and get 3 totally different opinions. Even with a consistent diagnosis, you're likely to get wildly different treatment recommendations. Listen to your body very carefully and trust the people you listen to. If you do have a ligament tear, a physical therapist can help you recover quicker and safer.

When I had bad back trouble on a ski trip, I knew if I saw a doctor he'd say no skiing. So if I could put socks on I'd go skiing. If I couldn't I stayed in the room. I skied my way back (went from 3 days inside, 1 day skiing, to 3 days skiing in a row at the end of the trip). But sitting on the plane for hours and hauling luggage on the trip home broke me. After the day job sent me home because "it was too painful to look at me" (go ahead with the snarky comments), I went to a chiropractor, did everything I was told and got fixed. At one point during recovery, on the drive in to work, I sneezed, passed out and woke up half off the road. So you could say back trouble is nothing to sneeze at.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

The problem with a bad back is all the advice you get to fix it. There are so many different possible reasons for back pain that it's easy to go to 3 different people and get 3 totally different opinions. Even with a consistent diagnosis, you're likely to get wildly different treatment recommendations. Listen to your body very carefully and trust the people you listen to. If you do have a ligament tear, a physical therapist can help you recover quicker and safer.

When I had bad back trouble on a ski trip, I knew if I saw a doctor he'd say no skiing. So if I could put socks on I'd go skiing. If I couldn't I stayed in the room. I skied my way back (went from 3 days inside, 1 day skiing, to 3 days skiing in a row at the end of the trip). But sitting on the plane for hours and hauling luggage on the trip home broke me. After the day job sent me home because "it was too painful to look at me" (go ahead with the snarky comments), I went to a chiropractor, did everything I was told and got fixed. At one point during recovery, on the drive in to work, I sneezed, passed out and woke up half off the road. So you could say back trouble is nothing to sneeze at.

Woah! Sneeze to a snooze. Jokes aside, I'm glad you didn't get into an accident. Sneezing can be rough on your back as I'm finding out the hard way. I usually get allergy related sneezing fits this time of the year :(
post #19 of 25
It's the hours in the car that get me.  I can finish off the day feeling good, but after a 3 hour drive back home, I'm usually stiff as a board when I get out of the driver's seat.  If I could just move to Jackson Hole permanently, I could eliminate the trauma!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahroy View Post

... i skied aggressively all day long with no pain.... 6+ hrs, 36 laps, 40k vertical, no groomers, 8 hours in the car, no pain!



 
post #20 of 25
Ugh, this thread conjures up memories of Bumpfreaq's eastern trip last year, when I had one of my worst back experiences skiing Jay...  Pulled something really bad, tried skiing on it, was forced to give up, went into the lodge and proceeded to "lock up" only to have a 5 hour drive home in excruciating pain with back spasms.  It stayed that way for months until I saw a chiropractor-  best move I ever made.  EVER! 

God I hate back pain.  It's the worst.  No drug can make it go away either.  I know people who's back pain is so bad that they get epidurals, though- so I guess I am lucky that now I know a quick adjustment can get me back out there in a jiffy. 
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

The problem with a bad back is all the advice you get to fix it. There are so many different possible reasons for back pain that it's easy to go to 3 different people and get 3 totally different opinions. Even with a consistent diagnosis, you're likely to get wildly different treatment recommendations. 

 
This is a long the lines of what I was thinking.  I have a great specialist and he sent me to his partner who does steroid injections.  I got one and it worked well.  My situation is in the column, but it affects the ligaments and muscles. 

When I went to the guy who does injections, he recommended a chiropractor over PT.  I didn't go.

I reluctantly offer this - what I did do.  I did dead lifts for months while my steroid shot worked.  My back problem is pretty much not a problem right now.  It wasn't just dead lifts but general conditioning, dead lifts having the greatest effect.

For me the exercises they (PT) prescribe are pathetic, but you have to be careful.  I am not suggesting that anyone do this, it's just what worked for me.
 


In February I hit a tree and it undid much of the progress of the last 4 months.  Lucky it didn't undo my life.  Anyway, my back took a bad hit, different location but similar area.  Steroids and dead lifts and I am back in the saddle.
post #22 of 25
Don't we ALL have some back pain??
I have lower and upper discs that are shot, that I've gotten cortisone and PT and Feldenkrais and 'scrips for, but it'll always be there - inherited from a parent, and exacerbated by old injuries..
What are ya gonna do? STOP skiing? Ya right. 
post #23 of 25
Oh yeah. The back pain thread. I usually have to take every third day off if I am on a multiday ski trip. Sometimes I just try to get through it. (couple extra drinks in the evening) I notice the same thing happens if I play hockey too many days in a row. It all started around 35. In 05 I went to Tahoe for 9 days and had to sit out three.That pissed me off. I guess you just have to do your best to stay in shape because as mentioned above 10 different doctors will give you ten different solutions.
post #24 of 25
I ski with a bad back and probably miss one or two days a year because of back spasms.

The diagnosis is compressed disks.

My self prescribed cure is a combination of a chiropractor, pilates, yoga and an attempt to lose a little weight.
post #25 of 25
I have blown out my back twice now.....and trust me when I say take care of your back. First time I blew out my back was on skis.

You know what one of the most common ways of people injuring their back is? Bending down to get the newspaper. So, ski if you wish but you are taking a chance with re-injuring your back.
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