Surfing: the lower back pain is only a matter of time | Photo: JVC/Creative Commons

Lower back pain is a frequent problem among surfers, but it is also a health issue experienced by many individuals between 30 and 60.

Surfers begin to feel it in various situations - lifting objects, standing and walking, waking up in the morning, bending, lying down and reclining, sitting for long periods, paddling, etc.

Pain may begin suddenly or gradually worsen over time due to everyday movements, prolonged rest or inactivity, and prolonged sitting or standing.

The vast majority of the lower back pain examples are solved in six weeks, but if the problem persists, you might be forced to rest and stop surfing, apply simple heat and ice packs, and reduce inflammation via drugs and medication.

There are also specific physical exercises (aerobic conditioning, stretching, and strengthening) for lower back pain treatment.

Surgery should always be the last resort for obvious reasons.

Lower back pain is truly a very common issue. Nearly 80 percent of adults experience lumbago at least once in a lifetime.

If you're a surfer, know that Yoga and Pilates help. And you can also take the straight leg raise test, which will tell you whether you have a herniated disc.

The knee pop-up: Hammer and Loubert study the surfers' low back pain | Photo: CHP-CMU

A New Pop-Up Technique

There is good news, though. Two researchers from the College of Health Professions, Central Michigan University, have studied the surfers' back pain and introduced an alternative to the classic pop-up.

The "knee pop-up" alleviates the stress (and excess arching) in the lumbar spine during surfing. The starting position is kneeling, so it is mostly suitable for wave riders in malibus and longboards.

"The knee pop-up proceeds as the surfer pushes off the board with his/her feet to hop up to a standing position," explained Roger L. Hammer and Peter V. Loubert.

The team quantified and compared selected kinematics during and between prone and knee pop-ups and has reached the conclusion that the high acceleration of a classic pop-up is a major factor associated with low back pain.

Pop-up and knee pop-up: acceleration is the cause of pain | Illustration: CHP-CMU

"The high accelerations in a prone pop-up can be expected to require very high forces and correspondingly high stresses. The relatively lower accelerations of the knee pop-up are likewise probably associated with much lower stresses," conclude both scientists.

In the end, staying active and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle are key ingredients to reducing the probability of experiencing lower back pain.

Discover the 5-minute pre-surf warm-up, and take a look at our comprehensive guide to surf training.

The knee pop-up: great for riders in malibus and longboards | Photo: CHP-CMU

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