Is Boating a Spine Pain Friendly Summer Sport?



If you have been searching the internet for “spine pain friendly summer sports”, you may have been left wondering if boating and fishing have made the list. Afterall, there is nothing finer than spending your summer days out on the water. However, for spine pain suffers, the boat may be the last place you feel comfortable. It has been found that boating and fishing on the water are surprisingly hard on your spine and back muscles. If your legs and your knees don’t absorb the shock of the rolling deck beneath your feet, then your back does. And your spine can pay the price.

Before you decide if boating will make your list of spine pain friendly summer sports, we suggest you speak with your spine specialist, such as Dr. Timothy Keenen at Pacific Spine Specialists. This piece of advice is especially important if you have undergone spine surgery recently. After surgery, it is always best practice to follow your post-operative instructions and don’t try to do too much before you’re ready. Listening to the advice of your doctor will ensure you are back onboard the boat in no time.

Safety Tips to Help Avoid Spine Pain While Boating

Once you and you doctor decide you are ready to board the boat, keep these safety tips in mind. They can go a long way in preventing further spinal injuries while on the water.

1. Avoid alcohol use: It is no secret that alcohol can give you sealegs even on land. When you put alcohol and boating together, the chances of a fall or injury heighten.

  1. Avoid rowing: If a kayak or canoe is your boat of choice, you may want to think again. Rowing produces a high-intensity workout for your back, not something you should do during or shortly after your spine surgery.
  2. Stay in the boat: If skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing are of interest, we suggest opting out if you are experiencing spine pain or have undergone spine surgery. Although fun, these activities are usually performed at high speeds and increase your chance of a spine injury, especially if you are thrown off or performing stunts.
  3. Ride comfortably: Stay near the stern, close to the water level, where you’ll experience less bouncing. This is especially important with smaller vessels where movement is felt more.
  4. Change Positions: If you are spending the day on the boat or if you plan to fish, don’t sit in one place for hours. We recommend keeping your back loose by stretching frequently.

Contact Dr. Keenen Today

If you have experienced a spine injury while boating or if you have been living with spine pain, we invite you to learn more about Dr. Timothy Keenen of Pacific Spine Specialists. With his expert knowledge and minimally-invasive procedures, he will strive to have you back on the water–pain free, as quickly as possible. Schedule a visit today.