Peter Miller’s tips for fishing with back pain

Peter Miller fishingPeter Miller understands all too well how fishing can cause neck or back pain. He suffered from chronic back pain before coming to Laser Spine Institute for his minimally invasive spine surgery with Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Stefan Prada, M.D.

Fishing has been a major part of Peter’s life since he was 10 years old. Peter is originally from Tappan, New York and caught his “first striped bass within view of the World Trade Center,” according to his online biography. He is the host of NBC’s “Bass 2 Billfish with Peter Miller” and is on a sailfish team.

“We’re the three-time world sailfish champion,” he shared. “We’ve received awards in 120 events over the past 15 years, and we’re considered the top team in Florida history. They call us a ‘dynasty’ team.”

A typical day for Peter and his team of 7 includes an early wake up that comes at about 4:30 a.m. The team makes its way to the boat, lugging “coolers, drinks and heads out to catch live bait,” Peter said.

“We head off shore looking for good conditions. We look for blue water as close to shore as possible, good current, and bird activity. We’re looking for any kind of visual signs that tell us where the fish are.”

Peter and his team compete in a minimum of 10 high-profile billfish tournaments each year. Those tournaments require Peter to be in peak physical shape.

“We need to be very concise and very quick with everything we do. Within a blink of an eye, you may have an opportunity to capitalize on multiple fish.”

Having dealt with chronic neck and back pain while fishing, Peter now takes extra precautions to ensure he cares for his spine. Here are his tips for keeping your back safe while riding the waves:

Get really comfortable shoes. Traditionally, fishermen wear flip flops, boat shoes or bare feet. There’s no cushion to absorb shock or support. Try shoes that are more traditional for jogging than for fishing.

Stretch. Even 5 minutes worth of stretching before you get on the boat or mid-day stretching can make the difference in having a good or bad day on the boat. Try touching your toes or the floor and loosen up your core muscles. Proper stretching helps you to have the ability to land a fish and throw a cast.

Take Advil. Anti-inflammatory medications in mild doses will always help. Try taking some anti-inflammatory medications prior to taking the boat out to help prevent inflammation during the day.

Stay active. Don’t be sedentary. The kiss of death is sitting all day on a boat. Keep your muscles warm to help them stay loose. Stay active, stay warm, stay fluid.

Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is essential to helping reduce pain. It helps keep the muscles hydrated and helps avoid muscle cramps.

Laser Spine Institute and Dr. Prada will be featured on “Bass 2 Billfish with Peter Miller” on March 10 on NBC Sports.

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