Kayaking Back Pain and Leg Numbness (Part 2)

Again, according to Isaac Newton’s Third Law whenever a body exerts a force on another body, the latter exerts a force equal magnitude and opposite direction on the former.

This also means that when your torso’s entire weight is combined with the weight of your thighs, and together this weight pushes down against your seat, your seat pushes back up with an equal force on your posterior and lower back.
One more, instead of having your powerful legs support your body weight, you find yourself in a position where you have to support most of your legs’ weight with a part of your body that already supports your torso’s weight.
This vertical pressure is exerted during the whole time you’re seated in the traditional kayaking position. Furthermore, it is combined with the horizontal pressure that your legs exert on your lower back (see part 1), thus enhancing the ergonomic problem in your lower back.
No wonder cushioned seats and various ‘lumbar support’ solutions don’t change much.

Traditional kayaking position

More about kayaking leg and back pain »

16 Comments

  1. pete

    Ouch! Impressive graphics. Why is it that cushioning the seat doesn’t seem to help really?
    Pete

  2. admin

    Cushioning can protect your soft tissues from uneven, localized pressure. However, when push comes to shove it’s your skeleton that has to sustain your body in this position, and it’s the bones and cartilage in your lower back that bear the pressure, with the lower part of your spine placed in a difficult position at the intersection between two powerful vectors (forces) that it’s not naturally fit to withstand for long periods of time.

  3. Quebec Seakayaker

    Some people don’t seem to be affected by these problems. What’s their secret?

  4. admin

    Young age, light weight and strong abdominal muscles can all work to diminish the unwanted effect of the L position.

  5. Pete

    How about a higher back rest?

  6. admin

    A high back rest would intervene with your paddling and fishing movements. The options are very limited.
    Native kayakers didn’t use backrests at all in their kayaks. They were smaller, lighter and in much better physical shape than most of us are today.
    Similarly, if you’re young, lightweight and in top shape you can paddle your sit-in kayak in the L position with neither backrest nor footrests. Some kayakers do that but it’s rare to see one because those who could are basically the same paddlers who have less back problems to begin with.

  7. Mike H.

    Too late for me

  8. April Leder

    For most of us, it seems. The good news is that the W is much more tolerant to those things than the old kayaks are.
    April

  9. Mike H

    True but it’s always better to be young lightweight and in good shape when it comes to paddling.
    Mike

  10. Fish wiz

    Tell me about it… I hear some doctors tell patients with back problems to stop kayaking!

  11. J. K. Huysmans

    This information is important for many kayakers. Why don’t you publish an article on this subject in one of the paddling magazines?
    –Huysmans

  12. admin

    I think that’s a kind of question you should ask the editors of those magazines
    🙂
    Yoav

  13. J. K. Huysmans

    Haven’t they published anything about your new boat? I find it hard to believe… —Jack

  14. admin

    Wavelength Magazine sent a kayaker-reporter to us and published a full story and kayak review.
    Paddler Magazine took the W kayak for an extensive series of tests and had a very favorable article ready for print but eventually they published just a small part of it.
    Other kayaking magazines have shown no interest in our W kayak as a new paddle craft.
    Generally speaking, fishing publications have shown a higher degree of interest.

    You can read the reviews here:
    http://www.wavewalk.com/Fishing_Kayak_Reviews.html

    Yoav

  15. Mike H

    Too bad they don’t pay enough attention to important issues and new developments.
    Mike H.

  16. admin

    It’s not a real problem for Wavewalk: Nowadays everybody has access to information through the Internet, and consequently paddling magazines lost their clout.

    Yoav

Leave a Comment