Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
skydiving with back problems

 


exxoduss04

Apr 29, 2006, 1:25 PM
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skydiving with back problems Can't Post

Hey, my name is Jeff, i plan on skydiving in july for my first time. I was talking to my mom about skydiving, and she was worryed about my back. i have a messed up lower back, and i was wondering if anyone could tell me how much stress is put on the back during the jump, once the parachute opens, and on the landing...thanks...


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Apr 30, 2006, 9:28 AM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

What exactly are you suffering from in your back? Lots of skydivers have messed up backs in one form or another.

I have a bulging disc at the L5 vertebrae, but it seems to only bother me when I lift something heavy.

If you explain more clearly your problem, you'll get better answers here. Wink


bozo  (D 10154)

Apr 30, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Re: [BillyVance] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a messed up back....broke the L verterbraes

Skydiving doesnt put any more strain on it than a normal workday.
If you happen to catch the bug and actually become a skydiver....be prepared to pay the price of fulltime backpain. To me its worth it....to you it may not be.


bozo


Trae  (Student)

May 1, 2006, 4:33 AM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

in reply to "wondering if anyone could tell me how much stress is put on the back during the jump, once the parachute opens, and on the landing.."
.................................................




Depending on the extent of your back probs you may be able to go skydiving with no big worry just a bit of extra caution.
If you have a fairly debilitating injury it may raise some issues.

How does your back probs restrict you currently?

One things almost certain ..skydiving won't fix your back but it could be good medicine anyway.Smile


kosanke  (D 23716)

May 22, 2006, 5:22 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

at 56, i have osteoporosis, L2 thru L5 are almost gone.stenosis constant back pain. if i stress my back on day one, i take 3 days to feel better. i usually try to jump once a week. one jump. pack at home later. I'm blind in one eye. is it worth it? you bet. when that door opens, i'm flying. starting out, you can expect mistakes that could put a load on you back. like flaring high
there are canopies that open soft. get with your doctor and talk to some old guys at the DZ. good luck


pirana  (D 30661)

May 23, 2006, 1:01 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had a host of back and neck problems my whole life. Diagnosed with Shermans Disease at age 9. Nodes, herniated discs, scoliosis, sciatica; I've done everything but break it. The kicker was fusion of C5-6 early last summer. The injuries were from a combination of Sherman's and a life of high impact sports, I have one speed - full throttle. I've slowly given up most sports and now just ski (downhill) and skydive. The running joke is that they are the gentlest of sports for my body.

Bottom line is that skydiving has some harsh moments (hard openings and botched landings happen), but unless you have debilitating ongoing pain from a chronic condition, there is a good chance you can manage even those moments.

Tactics that work well for me:

<> If you don't pack your own, know your packer.
<> I get as SSSLLOOOOOWWWWWW as I can before I open, cupping for all I am worth.
<> Transition to what I call "forward leaning fetal" position just before opening shock. It took a while to find this as the ideal position in which to comfortably absorb opening shock - and it works great. Protects my neck from any lateral movement and protects my lower back from getting over-arched.

May or may not work for you, depending on your specific problems. If you take it up, experiment carefully, and make sure everything is discussed with your coaches well before you exit.


Joshua

Aug 2, 2006, 11:51 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jeff,
I'm Josh, and have a severely damaged lumbar spine from my Army service. Yeah, even though I'm forty now, my mom hates the fact that I still skydive.
I have never felt pain in my back from civilian skydiving because I have always used a good PLF when I land (and don't jump at night at 800 feet with 350 pounds of gear!). I only landed once on my feet because it was required for the Class A USPA license.
"Civvie" chutes give you nice, soft landings, the free fall is just plain fun, and doesn't hurt a bit either.
The danger of hurting your back could happen in your own bathtub--a mistake. Just carefully think about your landings, practice, practice, practice PLFs, plan a good landing, use what you've got between your ears, and you'll be fine. Just remember, like downhill skiing, you're moving really fast, have other people and obstacles to avoid, and always need to have an alternate plan (like most drivers ought to).
Blue Skies!


antonsteyn

Aug 9, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Re: [Joshua] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I have had severe lower back issues since childhood. A disease known as Scheurman's (sp?) results in a softening of the vertebrae, and resultant misalignment and bulging discs etc. Constant chiropractor visits help.
The canopy ride and the landings are non-issues to me. However, the arching required for formation skydiving induces severe pain. I spent some time in the wind tunnel several years back, learning the mantis position. The pain after 30 minutes in the tunnel prevented me from continuing, and I was unable to walk/sit/stand/shit for weeks. It was agony.

I have since given up FS apart from the odd fun jump with friends, and am trying freeflying instead. I also recently got a tandem instructor rating. Neither of these cause me any pain whatsoever.

As has been said on this thread already, it totally depends on your individual condition and pain threshold.
Probably a good idea to get some professional advice from someone in the medical profession, in addition to getting people's input on this forum.

Good luck and hope you are able to participate in and enjoy this sport as much as we all do.


xHAVOCx  (A License)

Mar 7, 2007, 2:33 AM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey there,

Depending on your back problems you may or may not have trouble jumping. I have suffered from back problems for the past few years among other issues. Some of which I acquired in the Marine Corps and some from a car accident.

I have two partially herniated discs; one at my L4-L5 and the other below my T6 underneath a 2mm vertebral compression of the anterior side of my T6. It hurts. I can still do all the activities I used to do with the exception of heavy weight lifting as long as I keep in good physical condition and stretch on a daily basis. You have to keep a strong core I have found.

Skydiving, like I am sure you deal with a number of other activities on a daily basis, will come down to the amount of pain you are willing to deal with as long as you are not exacerbating the injuries that you all ready have.

I am rated as 90% disabled by the VA after my military service due to my back and other injuries and I am still more physically active than most people I know.

I would most definitely recommend getting a clearance from your physician and get it in writing to take with you to the dropzone of your choice to show them you have medical clearance to jump.

Best of luck to ya! You will get to jump one day soon.
Be safe and have fun!

~Z


llsspratt  (A License)

Mar 18, 2007, 7:33 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Jeff
I have Tandem jumped in February and I plan on doing my AFF course in May. I injured my back about six years ago and had my L3 vertabrae removed and replaced with a cage, they also fused L2 to L4 with two rods and four screws. I will not let this stop me for doing what I want, Right now I practice Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing five days a week. Some times it hurts like Hell. I believe that you have to make the choice to enjoy life. So I would like to say to you give it a try and see what life has to offer


alex_778

Mar 30, 2007, 9:23 AM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Jeff, as I sit here in mild agony from the days work I am looking forward to stepping out at 13,000 feet at least 3 times tomorrow.

I have a prolapse of the disc at L5-L6 diagnosed about 3 years back but I think it has been there for a long time. I personally have good days and bad days, but you've got to have something to look forward to or you might just as well sit on the couch and never move again.

I actually find that after a good jump my back is nicely sorted out and gives me no bother for a week or so - I think something gets jerked into place or out of place, well something anyway, that gives me some relief.

Bottom line, Go for it.Smile


jm951  (Student)

Apr 4, 2007, 5:12 PM
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Re: [alex_778] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a bullet lodged in L5 with scar tissue pressing on nerves in the area. The actual dive isn't any problem, I have more problems with doing dirt dives than the actual dive. In a dirt dive, I have to use the back muscles to simulate the arch and it is rather.. uhhm, uncomfortable to put it mildly. In the actual dive, the air pressure on my body means I can arch easier than on the ground. Read the muscles aren't involved and not pressing on the scar tissue around the nerves. No problems with openings, granted, I haven't had any hard openings yet.


VideoFly  (D 25621)

May 23, 2007, 7:09 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I broke my tailbone 25 years ago rock climbing. There was a couple of years of pain, but none now. 15 years ago, I ruptured L4,5 and S1 and had them removed. Ive had severe leg and back pain since. Last year, I ruptured 2 more lower back discs in a car accident, but have chosen to not have another surgery yet. Anyway, the best relief I ever get for my back is when I belly fly. The hard arch gives me relief that lasts for about a week. Since my last accident, I have upsized my canopy and moved to conservative landings. For me, skydiving has been good for my lower back. The cameras on my head and my bulged neck discs are another story though.
Check with a doctor if you are not sure (they probably wont be sure either) and STAY AWAY FROM PAINKILLERS AND MUSCLE RELAXERS WHEN JUMPING!


Lastchance  (B 28828)

Jun 2, 2007, 2:04 PM
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Re: [exxoduss04] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Seems to me that 9 out of 10 people I know have back probs of one form or another including me. The way I see it is my back is going to hurt whether I jump or not. This may not be the best advise but I try not to live my life around my pain. If I did I wouldn't ever be doing anything.


novacaine  (Student)

Oct 24, 2007, 9:16 PM
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Re: [Lastchance] skydiving with back problems [In reply to] Can't Post

 Back in July I fractured my back (L2 & L3), when I was hiking. I have had 2 surgeries since August. I recently asked my dotor about wither or not I would b able to scuba dive and skydiving. He informed me that skydiving shouldn't be a problem, just as long as I get a canopy that opened softly. (This information he gathered from reading FAA articles and asking this question to some ex military doctor friends of his.) Yet, surprisingly, he advised me that scuba diving would do more harm to my back then skydiving.
Just my 2cents!!!

Blue Skies



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