Back issues

Kernowlad

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My back had a bit of a fit around a month ago; nothing serious but it completely tightened up but using a lot of yoga, was just about okay. Running is fine, surfing is okay I can do just about everything except... archery.
Having just shelled out £80 on a more stable rest my back decided not to play. I pulled a couple of arrows (steady but slow, it wasn’t easy) and immediately felt stiff in my back. I’ve had a lifelong dodgy shoulder and I think it’s related and probably the rhomboid muscles having a little protest.
I’m sure it’ll get better and recover but it does seem that archery is the worst thing for it.
I could get lighter limbs but it’s a near £200 “risk” and I’m not sure it would solve the issue.
Darn and blast it. Times ten. Squared.
 

KidCurry

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Just started pulling my bow again after 7 weeks of a lower back injury. Usually Ibuprofen gets me through arthritis and rotator cuff issues in my shoulders but I could barely walk with my back injury this time. If I were you I would use rest and a light physio band and maybe get some advice. I don't think lighter limbs will do any more than a physio band.
 

dvd8n

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My back had a bit of a fit around a month ago; nothing serious but it completely tightened up but using a lot of yoga, was just about okay. Running is fine, surfing is okay I can do just about everything except... archery.
Having just shelled out £80 on a more stable rest my back decided not to play. I pulled a couple of arrows (steady but slow, it wasn’t easy) and immediately felt stiff in my back. I’ve had a lifelong dodgy shoulder and I think it’s related and probably the rhomboid muscles having a little protest.
I’m sure it’ll get better and recover but it does seem that archery is the worst thing for it.
I could get lighter limbs but it’s a near £200 “risk” and I’m not sure it would solve the issue.
Darn and blast it. Times ten. Squared.
As someone who has suffered with lower back pain for about 30 years, I sympathise. I can offer the following observations:
  • There's a lot going on in your back; everyone's back problems will be different; what works for one person won't necessarily work for another.
  • Nevertheless, everyone will be forthcoming with 'helpful' but conflicting advice; it will become annoying.
Notwithstanding this, you're here for advice, so here's mine for what it's worth:
  • Give yourself some time off to recover.
  • Find yourself a good sports physio - a few sessions will be way less than £200. Don't bother going to the NHS (that's no disrespect to the professionals who work there; they're very good but aren't allowed to spend the time that you need). You'll get a really good massage from the sports physio and some exercises tailored to your precise issue.
  • If you've got permanent issues, you may need to accept that you need to drop some limb weight. But if it's an intermittent thing then maybe what you need is some cheap lightweight rehab limbs or a cheap rehab bow and some cheap matching arrows to go with them, to help you build up again. I've got some 14lb Samicks and some 22lb SF limbs that are perfect for bumming around the course after an 'episode' - they were both really cheap.
  • If you have shoulder issues then your draw may be exacerbating them. Drawing straight back to anchor isn't great biomechanically. Jake Kaminski did a youtube video about it recently. He advocates (IIRC) drawing the bow low then lifting it up to anchor. Others advocate drawing above the eye line then lowering to anchor (keeping the arrow on the target of course; not a sky draw). Try it - one or the other may help.
  • If you have any vibration in the bow at all, do your best to tune it out, then get some limb savers and dampers on the bow. Bow vibrations can be a killer for tennis elbow and other rheumatic conditions.
 
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dvd8n

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Maybe invest in an arrow puller? Pulling 'em by hand is a horrible strain... I've yoinked my back pulling 'em before now.
Del
That's a very good point. I've hurt myself pulling them too.

I've mentioned the AroJak before:


Or take a teenager with you.
 

AndyS

Supporter
Supporter
I'd second the advice about finding a good sports physio, I've found their guidance invaluable on more than one occasion.
Apart from when recovering from a slipped disc, I've generally only needed 2 or 3 sessions at most - a proper diagnosis, then some guidance on the best way to rehab, and maybe one or two follow ups to check progress.
Most recent was an elbow issue that I couldn't figure out and wouldn't go away after months of problems - a visit to the physio diagnosed a tendon problem and explained what wasn't making sense to me about how the injury acted. It'll never be 100% because I left it too long, but it rarely causes any problems now, and would have been much worse without getting a good diagnosis and some guidance.
 

Kernowlad

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Supporter
I usually see a sports masseur about once every two months and get walloped back in line but clearly that’s not been allowed. I bought a very effective Renpho back massage thing but it’s not the same as being jumped up and down on by a human who knows her stuff.
I have also seen physios several times for various ailments from a wonky knee to an issue similar to this; I think I’ll get looked at when it’s allowed.
I think that maybe my bungee/bow thing may have been a bit OTT (it’s sort of like a bow trainer) and has caused trouble.
I think it’s doubly annoying because I’m pretty strong at many things from weights to pull ups, yoga to swimming but I think archery vindictively targets the weaker/damaged areas and stuffs them right up.
I have been pulling my sons little compound bow (Hoyt Ruckus) on about 25lbs (and obviously too short DL but it’s not far off; he’s pretty tall!) just to go through the motions but not sure it’s very useful.
I think rest (while ignoring my nice new arrow rest) is best then gentle physio, a bit of yoga (Saturnomovement is very good on YouTube) then an appointment when I can get one.
I do feel slightly cursed with archery but lots of people have far more real problems with it than me.
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
AIUK Saviour
I think the major causes of archery related injury are:
Not warming up properly
Poor technique
Over bowed
Unless I'm at a tournament where 'you need to look like you know what you are doing' :) my warmup usually consists of pulling the bow back half a dozen times :(
Oh... almost forgot, tripping over the shooting line!
 
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Kernowlad

Supporter
Supporter
I do warm up.
I think my technique is okay but getting it checked is currently impossible. It’s been okay for four years though.
When my back isn’t moaning I can pull the weight fairly easily (but sometimes inconsistently).
Try perching precariously on a tree root while trying to shoot uphill through some carefully placed trees; “form” goes out of the window!
 

Stretch

Active member
My own experience of archery injuries has been a bit different. They always have root cause in something else and archery is good at showing you what you’ve broken.

I trashed my shoulder (tendonitis) decorating a flat. Lovely flat but 3m ceilings meant to much working above my head and boom. I actually couldn’t draw my bow at all.

I currently have wrist issues that lie solely in too much device/typing/poor desk layout (I.e. an RSI). Archery really showed that up as well. I currently have to shoot with a very unforgiving and neutral stabiliser setup as too much bow swing aggravates the issue. Unfortunately just not working is not really an option.

I also knackered my back twisting just a few degrees to pickup a torque wrench while working on a mountain bike (yes one of those tiddly little ones....).

And then there was the sledging incident for which I accept full blame.

So, for an out of the blue (I.e. no obvious event) I’d look at all your time and consider if there are any posture issues (especially computer, TV, and reading) and whether your mattress has given up the ghost.

Hopefully it is something trivial that will either fix itself or be easily fixed (I used an Osteopath practice who were fabulous - 10 weeks of physio no improvement, 1 week Osteo and immediate improvement, 3 weeks and fixed.)

Stretch
 

KidCurry

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AIUK Saviour
I think my lack of warmups is really due to my compound shooting where I could get away with it. Now shooting recurve I probably can't.
About Christmas I was starting to get pain in my shoulders which is due to arthritis, but usually sorted by archery 3 to 4 times a week. I was watching a video about training for archery without actually shooting. It made me realise I do way more training, when in training mode, than I do shooting in shooting mode. Because there is no break between reps of 3 of a few minutes or between ends of six etc where you normally stop to collect arrows, instead of doing the equivalent of a days shooting in day I was getting through a days shooting in about 30mins :) and doing about 3 days equivalent shooting a day.
I cut back massively on my reps training and things went back to normal, back issue aside.
 
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