Boating and Your Back

Boating and Your Back

Boating and Your Back

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As a girl who grew up next to a fishing village in Nova Scotia and ended up living on the
Gulf Coast of Florida, I have seen a lot of injured fisherman and boaters over the years.
Back problems were not rare and for probably 50% of the time, a back injury is what
makes a fisherman hang up his tackle. But what about after surgery?
Let’s talk….

Anyone who has ever been out on a boat, be it a fishing boat, a pleasure craft, or a
racing boat, knows what it is like. On a calm day the ride is smooth, you can go fast, and
everyone sits comfortably in their seats. I swear that’s why people get up ridiculously early
to fish; to take advantage of the morning calm.
What happens most of the time though, is that the minute you add some speed to a boat
in normal waters, there is a pounding that sooner or later, you feel in your spine. Any
type of wave or wake will lift the boat up and drop it. Not for the post-op neck or back patient.
Of course, when you go back on the water should depend on many things. What type of
surgery did you have, neck or back, discectomy or fusion? What kind of shape were you
in before surgery? Do you have strong abdominal muscles? Do you know who is driving
this boat and will they slow down if you are having pain?
As we know from previous blogs, core strength is one of the most important things in
maintaining a strong back. It is especially important for boaters and fisherman, for
keeping balance, loading and unloading and of course for catching the big one.

A guideline is always helpful in these situations, so…

Neck and back fusions– bones are usually on their way to fusion by 3 months. Unless
you are traveling as slow as a kayak, stay off the boat until then. Any pounding motion
will slow down fusion and may disrupt your instrumentation.
Lumbar discectomies– If the disc covering (annulus) is open from a herniation or a
discectomy, there is always a chance of more disc material coming out (re-herniation)
if the right forces are present. No boating until the annulus is healed. Usually 2-3 months,
depending on the size of the annular tear.
Lumbar decompressions – if the disc space is not open and only a small amount of bone
was removed, you can usually go back to short slow trips after about a month.

Also, use proper seating (low and in the stern), don’t go out by yourself, and if you
finally catch that big one, let someone else pull it in. You have only one spine, but there
are plenty of other fish in the sea.

 

Citations

  • Tarabini M, Saggin B, Scaccabarozzi D. Whole-body vibration exposure in sport: four relevant cases. Ergonomics. 2015;58(7):1143-50. PubMed PMID: 25267689

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

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Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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