QUESTION: Why do I have upper back pain when I'm paddling my board?
When I'm paddling against the current to stay in one spot, or even if it takes me awhile to get outside, the upper part of my back starts to hurt and I have no idea what it's from. I'm only 14—I can't have back problems, can I ? It also happens when I'm sitting down in a chair and I'm leaned over because I'm typing, doing my homework, etc. But it goes away when I sit down on my board or lean back in a chair (after a couple of minutes). I was just wondering what it is and what it's from. Also, if you have any excersises or stretching you think might help, that'd be really great. Oh yeah, I was thinking that my paddling technique might be weird and I'm always open to suggestions.
No, I don't think you have back problems. Although, you should see a doctor immediately if you're concerned about the pain and/or you start to notice any possibly related symtoms, like tingling, numbness, or pain in your shoulders, arms, or other parts of your body.
You are probably suffering from major muscle use during paddling (which is good because you are building muscle) and then poor posture while you are studying (from leaning over). I paddled a TON yesterday and my mid- to upper back was on fire and I know that is from muscle use. Today, as I lean over my computer with bad posture, I can feel that slight burning sensation, as well, and know it is due to tight muscles getting a stretch. As you sit at your desk, try to sit up as tall as possible and engage your tummy muscles a bit to help relieve the strain on your back and neck. You are young enough to make a change now to prevent some major problems as you get older.
Get yourself stretching a ton after your surf sessions and a bit before; it will help a bunch. Also, I would start to do some abdominal work, 3-4 times per week, to strengthen your core. Have someone with good paddling technique check you out and give you some pointers. If you are paddling poorly, you may be overusing your upper back muscles and not targeting your other important muscles, like your lats, delts, lower traps, etc. From my desk I have no idea what you look like while on your board!
The stronger you get, the longer you will be able to paddle pain free. You are still building muscle and growing, so keep it up and you will soon be shredding the most!!!
Wish I had started at your age. Have fun and let me know if you need any more help with this stuff.