Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tips on Avoiding Low Back Pain while Fly Fishing

When I first started fly fishing I could stand in one spot for hours and not feel any ill effects from it. Of course I was just getting started back then and have learned many things since.

First of all, you shouldn't be standing in one spot for hours in the first place. If the fish aren't biting, move on. Seems simple, but when I was younger my thinking was quite different. I'd often find myself saying things like "This is such a beautiful hole. There just has to be something in here." I'm much older and much wiser now and rarely will stand in one spot more than 20 minutes. Continuously moving up or down stream has proven to be much more effective.

Of course, this constant movement has as much to do with my back as anything. Unfortunately other, more strenous sporting activities have taken a toll on my back and I now suffer from multiple back conditions including a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis (slipped vertabra). So, I now practice different on-stream techniques that can still keep me on the stream for hours.

Another thing you may want to explore is potential foot problems. If you have high arches like I do, you may want to head the local drug store or supermarket and get a pair of the gel arch supports and put them in your boots. This has helped me immensely. You can also go one step farther and pay a visit to your foot doctor. If a problem is uncovered, you may get fitted for orthotics as well. Either one will have your back thanking you.

The next issue is stretching. Stretch out your back and your upper legs (quads and hamstrings) including your glutes and hips before and after you hit the water. This will help to keep any soreness at bay that evening and the following day. You will also want to periodically stretch out your back every 5 - 10 minutes if you are standing in one position. Don't let your back get to the point where it feels stiff because it will be much harder to deal with at that point.

Now let's talk about your stance. It needs adjusting, you know. Seriously, you want to continuously adjust your stance. Stand tall and do not slouch. The tendency for fly fishermen is to hunch their shoulders forward in anticipation of that big strike. Resist the urge. Hunching or slouching puts much negative pressure on the low back and shoulders. Stand tall. Stand with one leg slightly in front of the other with your knees slightly bent. Alternate legs often. Bend your knees every so often to stay loose. Its amazing how much this one simple thing can help your back.

Back pain can make any day on the water a complete disaster. Use common sense. You'll know what works for you and what doesn't. Try these tips the next time you hit the water. I'm sure at least some of them will help.

Find out more about how you can maintain a healthy back and get long-lasting back pain relief at the website.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Fine Fish Art said...

Great tips, thanks for posting!

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Gareth Warburton said...

Check out our best fly fishing videos for beginners


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