What type of back pain should rowers worry about?


Low back pain is common in rowers – but it should not be tolerated in rowing

Lots of people get back pain in rowing but we should not tolerate it for periods of time.  I want to give you a few rules around that so you can understand exactly where you should be concerned or not.

Rowing Back Pain, acceptable pain, rowing back injury Rowing Back Pain

By Kellie Wilkie of BodySystem Physiotherapy

Rules for rowing back pain

  • 1st Rule – Whenever you are rowing and you get sharp pain – and we all know what sharp pain is compared to a dull niggle or a dull ache. Sharp pain is something you should be worrying about.  It means the structure in your back is being stressed and so we should not row with sharp pain.
  • 2nd Rule – If you are rowing and you have got pain and it’s getting increasingly worse, the chances are you are causing more damage or that you are doing more harm than good.  And so if you have a little niggle in your back that comes on half way through your rowing session, it lasts five minutes and then you get rid of it, and you don’t feel it for the rest of the session, you don’t feel it when you get out of the boat – we are not worried about that. We are worried about sharp pain or pain that is getting increasingly worse.
  • 3rd Rule – Pain that persists after a session. If you have a bit of a niggly back and you get out of the boat and you are sore for the rest of the day or particularly if you are sore for more than 48 hours that is another red flag that you need to get things checked out.

What I am trying to do is to give you a few rules to be guided by because a lot of young people aren’t sure whether they are getting tightness or a bit of an ache in their back and when they are talking to Mum and Dad they say that their back is sore but you don’t really know if it’s something that you need to get checked out or not – these are the questions to ask.

As a parent or a coach, these questions are really handy.

Questions and Answers

Should we be worried about the first episode of low back pain that someone has?

This is a transcript from a video published by Decent Rowing.


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