The Climbing Doctor: Low Back Pain and Climbing

Low back pain can be extremely debilitating and affects a large portion of the population. While low back pain is extremely common in the entire population, it also affects climbers as many of our repetitive movement patterns can quickly lead to its development.

To help anyone struggling with low back pain, here’s an article from The Climbing Doctor Blog by climber and physical therapist Dr. Karen Hsu. In it, Hsu first examines the common causes of low back pain and then gives us some climbing specific tools to help alleviate any existing pain as well as prevent it from developing in the first place.

“Are you having back pain after climbing for hours on end? Or, maybe you get back pain intermittently when you are in certain positions, after you’ve done multiple sit starts, while bouldering, or high stepping. You are not alone.”

“Low back pain has been identified as the single leading cause of disability worldwide. As much as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives13. Of those who have been treated for back pain, 85% will have a recurrence of pain within 1 year and will go on to develop chronic low back pain12,14.” – Dr. Karen Hsu

Low Back Pain and Climbing

In examining the causes of low back pain and how climbing can make it worse, Hsu discusses:

  • Muscle Imbalances
  • Delayed Muscle Reaction
  • Decreased Proprioception

Ultimately, with all of these cases, the core and its roll in stabilizing the spine through creating tension is the central issue. As a result, Hsu suggests treating back pain by working on improving our core’s ability to provide stability. To help you do this in a climbing specific way, Hsu, with Dr. Jared Vagy and Steve Bechtel, includes a series of exercise progressions.

Click through below to see the exercises for yourself and to read more about how climbing can a cause back pain.

More From Dr. Jared Vagy

If you like what you see here from Dr. Vagy, be sure to check out his Rock Rehab Pyramid Videos. The videos, which cover shoulder impingement, rotator cuff strain, and neck strain, give you a systematic step-by-step rehabilitation and injury prevention plan. They are designed specifically for climbers so that we can all stop dealing with nagging injuries that just won’t go away.

For more general injury prevention information, also check out Dr. Vagy’s Injury Prevention Guide.  It is full of detailed information and practical advice about how to prevent climbing injuries before they happen.

Full Article: The Climbing Doctor – Low Back Pain and Climbing


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By | 2018-04-30T10:52:04+00:00 April 8th, 2018|0 Comments

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