Back/Neck Pain - Prone firing pos

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by TA_sig, May 16, 2006.

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  1. At the end of last year I did a field exercise filling in as a rifleman on the TA commisioning course Module 3 FTX, fairly hectic inf type stuff. About halfway through I developed back/neck pain which the CMT put down to just requiring stretches to clear it out. Since then I seem to be susceptable to lower neck/upper back pain when in prone firing position for more than a few mins.

    I was on an FTX this weekend in sigs role so not much weight being thrown around for a very long time, but a while was spent prone and I am still feeling back pain in a fairly similar manner, though a bit duller, even two days later. Is it likely that it is just cramp/needs exercising or is my spine about to fall out? I'll probably wander over to a doc if it lasts much longer. Any recomended exercises/stretches to build it up better and avoid in the future?
  2. Get it checked out. It's your back and you've got to live with it. The army doesn't.
  3. Dear TA_sig,

    I wouldn't want to categorically rule out muscle-cramping as the cause, but it seems to have hung on a very long time for that. Try a hot towel on your neck and shoulders and then stretching your head as far down as it'll go onto your chest. At the same time, cross your arms at shoulder height and try to put your hands as far around your back as you can. Keep the towel as hot as you can and change frequently. If this relieves it, you just need a good massage and some adjustment to your body position.

    If this doesn't help, then PassingBells is right. You should get this checked out at the earliest possible opportunity. If only for your own peace of mind.

  4. Thinking about it another way, have you considered modifying your prone firing position?

    For instance, if your butt is too low in your shoulder, you'll be reaching down to it, and then having to lift your chin to let your eye see through the sight - might explain the neck pain.

    And if your elbows are close in to the rifle, your shoulders will be raised - so if your belly is on the ground, your back can be quite arched.

    Finally, if you're trying to fire from too "square" a position (i.e. body in line with the rifle) that can lead to some awkward stretches.

    So! Try sliding the left hand forward on the foregrip, or angling your position so that your body lies at 30 degrees or more to the line of fire. The rifle will then sit almost over your left elbow, and your right elbow will be off to one side. And maybe combine that with placing the butt slightly higher in your shoulder.

    As always, get someone who knows what they're doing to look at the position and comment.
  5. Time to call it a day.Your back is more important than the TA.Take it from me my friend. I am still living with chronic low back pain, OA of the hips,Knees and shoulder all due to military service,I'm ex Para.
  6. Bugsy - thanks for the stretches, they worked pretty well.

    I'm going to investigate my firing position further as some of Gravelbelly's points sound pretty sensible. Guess it's not something I do too often, but when I do I certainly know about it. Probably just monging my shooting pos, shame since it gets decent results. Going to keep a closer eye out for twinges and things, especially when doing bedford impressions and take note from there - will be in to see the docs if anything crops up. Interestingly I was ok after my last CFT with about 20kg's on (yeah I know the inf weight is more but I'm a stab siggie with a TM who likes to push us). Like you all say it's worth being cautious with it, although avoid being hyperchondriac at the same time.

    Cheers for the advice.
  7. May sound a bit bone, but I found the same problems when on stag, due to having too much kit in my webbing, as it was pressing on my kidneys. Other than that, the suggested advice is good, try alternating between straight legs and 'leg pushed up' positions, I found that can offer temp. relief.
  8. Sounds like irritation of the facet joints (pinch together and hurt when you arch your back or neck)...a few facet injections with a little steroid and anaesthetic should put you right...see an orthopaedic doctor :D
  9. Still conducting the experiment Liza?
    I suppose one post is better than nothing.