Back Pain, Good Posture and Kayak Fishing

UK researchers recently published an article about the beneficial effect of good posture in the British Medical Journal . According to this work, about half the UK population suffers from back pain from time to time, with up to 15% having chronic problems. They found that back pain is the second biggest cause of sick leave.
These British researchers found that long-term back pain can be relieved through encouraging sufferers to adopt good posture through the Alexander technique, which teaches patients how to sit, stand and walk in a way that relieves pain by focusing on their coordination and posture.

-Why are these findings important to kayak fishermen?
Because it’s likely to assume that most people who suffer from back pain are adults, and the older one gets the more likely he/she are to suffer from back pain. This means that if children and young people can afford to overlook bad posture when paddling kayaks and fishing from them, most adults can’t ignore them, and they should give these issues some serious consideration.
The time you spend paddling and fishing is when your back should get a relief from stress induced by bad sitting postures during long hours at the office or in your car. This time should be used for relaxation and easing your back problem rather than aggravating it.
The traditional L kayaking position is worst for your back than just sitting in the office or in car, which is why most people who fish from kayaks feel uneasiness and often even pain just from staying in this position. Kayak fishermen often experience a strong urge to switch positions, stand up, stretch their legs and ease the pressure in their lower back and the fatigue in the upper back, neck and shoulders. However, regular SIK and SOT kayaks don’t offer any relief for this problem.
This can help us understand why some W kayak fishermen have called their W kayaks ‘back saver’ and ‘back therapy’ – By this they mean that a good posture and the ability to switch between positions makes them feel good, and this is really important for them.

14 thoughts on “Back Pain, Good Posture and Kayak Fishing”

  1. Hi Yoav,
    The issue I had with sciatic pain was helped a great deal through using my W. A few months back it was painful just to drive the car very far. The riding position in the W along with the paddling motion gave me a load of relief. I have to agree about the potential pain concerns with the “normal” sitting position in a sit on top boat. Watching some of the older folks getting out of them after hours in the boat indicates the position they were in was not all that wonderful. If only we could get someone to prescribe the W as therapy, that would be great since you could fish and recover at the same time.

    Take Care, Jeff

  2. Any statistics about the North American population?

  3. I found this article:
    “Frequency – United States
    The lifetime prevalence of mechanical LBP [Lower Back Pain] in the United States is 60-80%. The prevalence of serious mechanical LBP (persisting > 2 wk) is 14%. The prevalence of true sciatica (pain radiating down one or both legs) is approximately 2%.
    Of all cases of mechanical LBP, 70% are due to lumbar strain or sprain, 10% are due to age-related degenerative changes in disks and facets, 4% are due to herniated disks, 4% are due to osteoporotic compression fractures, and 3% are due to spinal stenosis. All other causes account for less than 1% of cases.
    Mechanical LBP is the most common cause of work-related disability in persons younger than 45 years in the United States.”

    According to this article: quote: “Low back pain is a very common problem. The lifetime prevalence (prevalence refers to the number of people in a particular population who have complaints over a given period of time) of patients with back pain in the United States is about 90 percent. Low back pain is the second most common cause of visits to the doctor’s office after cold and flu. Low back pain is also a common reason for trips to the emergency room. It has been estimated that between 30 and 60 percent of the U.S. population will experience some form of low back pain in any given year.”


  4. Interesting! The second article also says this: -Injuries are a common cause of back pain. The most common types of injury that result in back pain are strains (injury caused by overuse or misuse) and sprains (injury to a ligament caused by excessive movement of a joint).

  5. One of the articles mentions torsion as a frequent cause for back injuries, and in classic kayaking we do extensive, repeated torsion. In fact, this paddling style is based on torsion.
    I wonder why kayaking magazines don’t talk about this.

  6. April, biting the hand that feeds you is impolite, and in case of the paddling magazines it means that mentioning discomfort and injuries would be bad for business since they depend on advertising dollars that come mainly from kayak manufacturers.

  7. Ah, the paddling media again… These people don’t even pretend to be impartial or relevant. They just try to hang in there and keep their publications going in an age when printed magazines are quasi obsolete.

  8. Having to make a living is not an excuse. These guys’ job is to cover paddling and everything related to it, and they clearly fail to do so.
    People trust them to do an honest journalist’s work, and if they don’t do it they deserve to be neither trusted nor respected.

  9. I happen to read some of them, and this is why I don’t like the way they cover certain things. I also find there’s too much covert advertising in them for my liking.

  10. I am a perfect example of the typical person with lower back problem
    and leg problems.
    After sitting in a standard yak for more then 2 hours, I can not get out of one.
    Muscle spasms in my legs and lower back are no longer a problem in my Wave Walk.
    I can fish all day, and still be able to walk out of my WW.

  11. The fact that people feel better and have more fun when they paddle their W kayaks and fish from them is what matters to me the most. This is what I consider to be a real achievement.

  12. It’s all about credibility:
    By not covering the Wavewalk kayak phenomenon those magazines undermine their own credibility as professional media.
    Their readers who learn about wavewalk’s kayak ask themselves why they didn’t get to read about it in the magazine, and people who already know the w yak and come across one of those magazines wonder why it doesn’t cover this story.
    I wonder if those magazines can really afford to disregard interesting stories such as this one, when everybody knows that printed media is losing ground to the web as a source of information, and it’s also losing advertisers because of that.
    Bum P.

  13. I think most people who read paddling or kayak fishing magazines these days do it either because it’s a habit, or because they’re looking for some entertainment. It’s hard for me to imagine anybody searching for serious information in those magazines – not with nearly all US homes connected to the Internet, and most of them having some kind of high speed connection.

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