Hunting and Your Spine – Preventing Injuries & Back Pain

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 30, 2018

Hunting Spine Pain

Minnesota has been blessed with some amazing wilderness and wildlife, and recreational and sport hunters often flood to the area in the fall in hopes of finding that trophy buck. You might not think so, but hunting is actually a very dangerous activity for your spine. Today, we take a closer look at why hunting can take a toll on your spine, and how to protect your back from hunting injuries.

Common Hunting Dangers For Your Spine

A recent study conducted in our neighbor to the east found that spinal injuries were common in Wisconsin hunters. According to the study, more than half of all hunting-related spine injuries can be traced back to the hunter’s deer stand.

“Entering and exiting the tree stand is a very frequent time for people to fall because you’re in that transition period,” said Dr. Kimberly Hamilton, who helped conduct the study.

Injuries from on the ground falls and accidental discharges also contributed to spinal injuries, but they were far less common than tree stand-related spinal injuries.

Preventing Spinal Hunting Injuries

Your life can change in a split second due to a spinal injury while hunting, but there are ways you can reduce your likelihood of falling out of a tree stand or injuring your spine. Here are some tips to keep your spine safe while hunting.

  • Use A Professional Stand – You might have some emotional ties to that wooden deer stand that your grandpa built by hand, but odds are it doesn’t meet the safety standards of a commercial deer stand. Replace your old homemade deer stand with one that meets the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association’s safety guidelines.
  • Alcohol Awareness – Deer camp can be a time where you stay up late drinking the night away, only to wake up a couple hours later and go hunting. Aside from being illegal, hunting while intoxicated can severely increase your risk of falling out of your tree stand or accidentally discharging your firearm, both of which can lead to injuries. Do not drink alcohol before hunting, and limit your consumption the night before if you’re waking up early.
  • Safety Harness – Many hunters claim to use a safety harness when up in their tree stand, but just like seatbelt use, odds are the number of people who say they use them is higher than the actual usage rates. A safety harness can protect you in the event you slip, or if you accidently nod off while up in your stand. Which brings us to our final point.
  • Get Enough Sleep – Most hunters want to get out to their stands before dawn breaks, which means that they probably didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before. If you’re up til the wee hours of morning and running on just a couple hours of sleep, you are at a high risk for falling asleep in your stand. If you’re not wearing a safety harness, this can lead to a fall and a severe spine injury.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re going hunting, otherwise you may end up in Dr. Sinicropi’s office. And if you are dealing with spine pain caused by a hunting injury or another activity, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi today.

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