Lower back pain and WDW
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  1. #1
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    Lower back pain and WDW

    I have been suffering from lower back pain that is getting worse every year. It is starting to interfere with my Disney trips, unfortunately. It acts up the most when I stand for too long (which can be as little as 10 minutes sometimes), making waiting in lines or very difficult. It also affects my ability to enjoy certain attractions that involve standing, like the Muppets 3D preshow, Living Seas, and One Man's Dream. Once it starts hurting from standing, then it hurts when walking and I have to slow the pace way down. It's very aggravating.

    I refuse to stop riding ToT or RnRC, but when it acts up I avoid really bumpy or jerky rides like Star Tours and Dinosaur.

    Does anyone have this problem? How do you handle it? I love the exercise I get from all the walking at WDW, but am I doomed to start using scooters?
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

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  2. #2
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    My sister in law had back surgery when she was little. She can only ride 2 bumpy rides a day. Otherwise she can't walk!

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkDisney
    Laur

  3. #3
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    Waukee, Iowa
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    I have lower back pains as well. For reading your post I don't think my back is as bad as yours tho. I'm fine with rides. They don't bother me at all. What hurts is when I walk or stand round all day. I have found some simple easy back stretchs that can be done in any room that helps before and after a long day at the parks.
    -Coach Alec S

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlaxcorps
    I have lower back pains as well. For reading your post I don't think my back is as bad as yours tho. I'm fine with rides. They don't bother me at all. What hurts is when I walk or stand round all day. I have found some simple easy back stretchs that can be done in any room that helps before and after a long day at the parks.
    What are the stretches?
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    I've had occasional lower pack issues for a while but fortunately have never had an issue at WDW.

    When I do get pain, I struggle to stand for long periods and can find walking uncomfortable.

    I wear a back support and take anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen) when it's bad.

    Have you tried an osteopath of chiropractor?
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    I have persistent lower back pain normally steaming from my glutes area and occasionally moving around to my hips. Mine is a result of 20 years as a dancer and the only way I manage it is with fortnightly (or weekly) trips to my physio.

    I have also been given exercises to strengthen the muscles around my lower back and Abdominals as they are all related.

    The annoying thing for me is walking - I used to power walk up to 10ks everyday but now it hurts too much. Yet two weeks at WDW was not too bad. But I did take preventive measures. I toke anti inflammatory tablets every morning, always carried pain killers with me, was religious about doing my exercises every morning and when it was sore I avoided certain jerky rides until i was feeling a bit better.

    Plus I have this thing from my physio called a trigger ball. It's basically a hard rubber ball that when placed on certain trigger points releases the pain. It's my life saver - I literally never go anywhere with out it!

    Have you been to see someone? I have lived with this injury for 10 years and it's been getting worse but my current physio is fantastic. If you haven't been to see anyone I would highly recommend you do so that you can find out specially what's wrong and how to treat it!

    If all else fails just think how much fun you will have zipping around in a scooter!!! Better a scooter than no Disney at all!!
    AusDisneyFan

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AusDisneyFan
    I have persistent lower back pain normally steaming from my glutes area and occasionally moving around to my hips. Mine is a result of 20 years as a dancer and the only way I manage it is with fortnightly (or weekly) trips to my physio.

    I have also been given exercises to strengthen the muscles around my lower back and Abdominals as they are all related.

    The annoying thing for me is walking - I used to power walk up to 10ks everyday but now it hurts too much. Yet two weeks at WDW was not too bad. But I did take preventive measures. I toke anti inflammatory tablets every morning, always carried pain killers with me, was religious about doing my exercises every morning and when it was sore I avoided certain jerky rides until i was feeling a bit better.

    Plus I have this thing from my physio called a trigger ball. It's basically a hard rubber ball that when placed on certain trigger points releases the pain. It's my life saver - I literally never go anywhere with out it!

    Have you been to see someone? I have lived with this injury for 10 years and it's been getting worse but my current physio is fantastic. If you haven't been to see anyone I would highly recommend you do so that you can find out specially what's wrong and how to treat it!

    If all else fails just think how much fun you will have zipping around in a scooter!!! Better a scooter than no Disney at all!!
    Now I know why you wanted to steal that scooter on your last trip!

    (Runs away quickly)
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  8. #8
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    Jun 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg

    Now I know why you wanted to steal that scooter on your last trip!

    (Runs away quickly)
    Yes that's it! That and I wanted payback for all the times I was nearly taken out by a scooter! (grin)
    AusDisneyFan

  9. #9
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    Re: Lower back pain and WDW

    Quote Originally Posted by AusDisneyFan View Post
    Yes that's it! That and I wanted payback for all the times I was nearly taken out by a scooter! (grin)
    You are an evil...wonderful...but evil woman! Those scooters are for the truly disabled! <grin>
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  10. #10
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    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    I saw a string of osteopaths (I used to have an excellent osteopath but he retired) and chiropractors for neck trouble but none helped.

    In the end, I saw a sports physio (ironic as I'm NOT sporty!) and she sorted me within 5 sessions.

    I'd definitely suggest seeking professional help.
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster
    I saw a string of osteopaths (I used to have an excellent osteopath but he retired) and chiropractors for neck trouble but none helped.

    In the end, I saw a sports physio (ironic as I'm NOT sporty!) and she sorted me within 5 sessions.

    I'd definitely suggest seeking professional help.
    I agree - sports physio is definitely the way to go!
    AusDisneyFan

  12. #12

    Re: Lower back pain and WDW

    I think that you should no to opt for rides with are small and time taking,you may try some giant swinging rides or half curl rides where there is enough space for sitting and adjusting your self i think that would work for you, Don't bump into things that you know might cause you a trouble later part of the day.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    5

    Exclamation Re: Lower back pain and WDW

    OK, I will admit I am totally biased so take it like I take advice - Chew the straw, spit out the sticks.

    I AM a chiropractor, specifically a certified sports chiro physician with a diplomate in pain management. Just a lot of letter after my name, really.

    Every one has a story of aunt sally who went to this or that practitioner (osteopath, chiropractor, massage therapist, sports med doc, PT, personal trainer, witch doctor) - who either fixed them or ruined them. Unfortunately, everyone is SO individual it is impossible to trust advice on a panel like this - just give personal experiences.

    There are great, good, and poor practitioners at every health discipline - so just find a great one. Right. Good luck. But there are some important things to know and understand.

    70%+ of low back pain that comes on after standing or sitting is NOT the most serious type. Most of these cases are really a combination of deconditioning and muscles imbalances, that lead to conditions such a piriformis syndrome, lower crossed syndrome, postural strain syndromes, sacroiliits, myofascial pain syndrome, etc. Not really such a thing as "pinched nerve" or "slipped disc" (i wish there was, I could just STICK that annoying disc back in there).

    And it's not likely osteoarthritis, or it would be worst 1st thing, and get warmed up and feel better until it got inflamed again.

    No, what you are describing MAY (and is likely to be), a result of a lifetime of sitting (most of us, even athletes), and/or some cumulative trauma to the supporting structures of the lower back. ESPECIALLY important is the inhibition of the gluteal muscles, both glute max and glute med (the muscles on the side of the hips that go to the large bony bumps in the lower back (where the sacroiliac joints are). We used to teach CORE, CORE, CORE! Do those ab exercises, do those crunches, do those leg lifts! But now we have found that unless we activate the glutes, and relax the hip flexors (those muscles in front of the thigh that are attached to the pelvis in front and the spine as well). we can never stabilize the lower back.

    Bottom line: when the glutes do not fire enough (inhibited) and the hip flexors are too tight, the lower back stabilizers (which are NOT supposed to be firing) will clamp down so hard you won't be able to find a comfortable position, and may lead eventually to advanced degenerative changes in the back. This is called "lower crossed syndrome", and is the most common back condition I see in my practice for world-class athletes and couch-potatoes alike.

    So for the AVERAGE back-pain sufferer, it is more important to:
    1) Activate the glutes
    2) stretch the hip flexors
    3) avoid long periods of sitting or standing
    4) keep moving

    So how to do these at Disney? Or really anyplace?

    My advice:
    1) for glutes, do a series of squats. They don't have to be full depth, and they can be against a wall, but keep the knees over the feet and try to NOT let the knees go forward as you go down, pushing the buttocks out and holding the belly in while you squeeze the glutes. Can be done anywhere, anytime. Squats ARE NOT harmful to the knees if doing correctly.
    2) for the hip flexors, do a line of light lunges, forward, backwards and side lunges. But again, the knee should be on top of the foot, with the lower leg not pushed forward more than 90 degrees (vertical).
    3) To avoid sitting or standing too long, even at computer jobs or on a plane to WDW, practice MICROBREAKS. Every 15 minutes get up, move the hips around, raise the knees to waist level, do a little jig or whatever, and sit back down. This 15 seconds of activity are like rebooting your body's computer, and lets you start over so to speak.
    4) Keep moving is self-explanatory. But also means that conditioning BEFORE trying to do a marathon day on hard pavement at a Disney Park is mandatory.

    I have had my own back pain (and surgery, which got me into this profession to start with 20 years ago), and have learned some other tricks.
    1) see some practitioner with great hands and the time to listen to your complaints. Make sure they don't just do surgery, or pain meds, and also not opposed at all times to this kind of intervention. Who cares what their personal philosophies are, what can they do FOR YOU. (I send lots of people to neurosurgeons - if I can't help them)
    2) Start exercising, no matter your age or health. Consult a doctor if you have health concerns that need to be addressed first or need supervision.
    3) Get a good massage therapist - worth their weight in gold, but make sure they do DEEP or SPORTS massage
    4) Buy a foam roller. The smaller therapy balls are great for trigger points, but can do more harm than good for some, and are too small to be effective for generalized low back pain. The foam roller is a critical component to most of the runners, triathletes, football and basketball players, but is equally important for people like me who bend too much, lift too much, or sit/stand too much. I use mine (a 6" x 12" black foam roller- cheap - at my office $12) EVERY night without fail or I wouldn't sleep. My therapists use one during the day between clients.
    5) Biofreeze, Sombra, DMSO, etc. are topicals readily available that can keep you going as the day wears on. We use Biofreeze mostly.
    6) and last, make sure your shoes are for the pavement. Not for running, or fashion.


    Sorry for the long response, but back pain can RUIN a Disney trip. I hope you never quit riding the rides and always enjoy the magic. My 92 year old father still rides California Screamin' with me and my kids!

  14. #14

    Re: Lower back pain and WDW

    I would definitely find a good Chiropractor. It takes a few visits, but, is so worth it.
    CAMPERS

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Re: Lower back pain and WDW

    Thanks for that detailed response, aggie81! Lots of good information.

    I just started seeing a physical therapist this week.

    He assessed me and said, as you predicted, that my muscles were very weak from too much sitting. He did a few things, like making me push back against him with my leg, and after doing things like that for a little while, my range of motion was actually better! I will be seeing him twice a week for the next few weeks, at least. He gave me exercises to do at home, just simple ones to start, then we'll build up to more.

    Although I may not be in great shape by the time we go on our trip in 3 weeks, hopefully it will be a little better and I'll know what exercises to do while we're there.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

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