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NVG and neck pain

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NVG and neck pain

Old 2nd Jan 2012, 12:55
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NVG and neck pain

Studies suggest that helicopter pilots using NVG may suffer from pain in the neck.

Do those in this forum using NVG agree?
AvMed.IN is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 13:20
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Join Date: Mar 2001
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About 3 and a half years since I last strapped on a pair of NVG, wear only a headset now, I still get neck pain and stiffness periodically, and it seems to be getting worse. From approximately 400 hrs NVG.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 14:23
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Pro-lapsed disc

My Doc is convinced that the pro-lapse in my neck was caused by NVG during my military career. However, not being the claiming type I just live with it! I certainly would strap them on all over again as flying without them would have been just plain silly and probably led to something more serious like a fatal case of death! That's humour by the way! So, does it hurt, yep, can I manage it, most of the time, would I use NVG again? Yep, in a heart beat. Would be nice for something less bulky to come on the market .... And I doubt it's many years away. The cost of progress me thinks. I retained my 900g counter lead weight as a souvenir!
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 14:26
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Mine got better when I stopped using the stupid counterweight!

The counterweights only work if you have your head nicely balanced on your neck, for example standing up, and not if you are not in the standard helicopter pilot posture, ie bending forward.

Otherwise they just add to the neck strain.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 14:50
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I got eye strain, but never neck pain. 400hr+ on NVG.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 15:09
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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Part of the problem is the helmet/goggle system. We had a number of pilots in our company starting to complain about neck pain when using the Alpha Eagle helmet (the pilots had been regularly flying on NVG's for a few years).
A couple of years ago we switched to Gallet helmets and most of the neck pain complaints stopped. I noticed a difference myself. The goggles/helmet feels much more balanced with the Gallet, therefore its less fatiguing to wear (and no, I don't work for Gallet or a Gallet supplier! ).

Cheers.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 15:10
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I have 1200 hours of NVG over the past 32 years. A few hours with full-face PVS-5s, 500+ hours with cut-away PVS-5s, both wearing the counter weight. The rest is with ANVIS configured NVG without the counter weight. I have not had any neck pain or neck problems associated with the NVG.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 15:22
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Yes Gallet LH250 works for me - no issues.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 18:10
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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900+ hrs Anvis 6/9's.

After longer NVG flights (3-6 hrs) will have a "tightness" between my upper shoulder blades. Usually get my wife to give me a big bear hug squeeze while slightly lifting me up which pops about 4 vertebrae in my upper back. Problem solved. Ready for another NVG flight...

Not sure what I'll do when she can't lift me anymore
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 18:19
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Perhaps the greater worry is what will you do when you can no longer lift her up!
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 21:49
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@Bhl ... and thats why we bought Gallet LH350
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 22:06
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Yes, I first flew with night vision goggles in 1979 (actually Passive Night Goggles, PNGs back then). I last flew using NVGs some dozen years ago after a few hundred hours of it and I suffer constant neck pain these days, sometimes worse than others.

Having suffered a major spinal issue about seven years ago, I was sent to a specialist surgeon. He looked at the X-rays and MRI scan results and told me my upper spine is basically a mess (so is the lower spine, different problem). Actually, he used a far less polite term than "a mess".

He told me the damage couldn't safely be operated on, nor could he give me a good chance of success if he did. I was told to give up all contact sports, stop running, stop motorcycling etc, etc. and definitely not to fly using NVGs.

So I have to live with it, too.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 22:37
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There is no way you can put that much weight on your head, far from the CG, and not expect some pain. Add up the weight of the helmet, the googles, and the counterweights, and you get much more mass than should be on your head. Get the rotor tracking a little out, thus some vibration going, and it can get bad. Unfortunately, I know of no good way to reduce the weight, nor the size, of the goggles. Just reducing the size, and thus the arm of the weight, would be a good start. If I could do that, I could become a rich man. But I can't, and I'm not, and won't be.
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Old 2nd Jan 2012, 22:59
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Maybe to put some plastic holder around the neck, something like in Formula 1 ... I dont know if that could be usefull / possible in helicopter?
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Old 3rd Jan 2012, 01:21
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A long time ago, far far away we used a suction cup to the green house then surgical tubing to hold the PVS5's up. Then we cut away the sides of the housing so you could look underneath at the instruments. That was a big improvement over focusing one lens to read your chart. At the time we thought were were so advanced.
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 05:25
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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600 +

I was US Army and about 600 NVG hours when my neck went. Herniated disk in my C5. I was in Germany and was sent to a specialized Clinic who did a wonderful job and actually replaced the disk. Doc said if I was in the US I would have gotten the vertabrae fused, which would limit mobility. With the disk replacement I have never had any trouble. VA gave me partial disability upon retirement. I am flying now and using NVG's and have never had a hint of neck pain since.
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 05:28
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Join Date: May 2008
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700 hours NVG now....no problems at all...

The secret seems to be "staying fit"-working out, train (and stretch!) your muscles.....

(Sure this doesn´t work for all of you out there...)
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 07:25
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Huey, I was fine at your age, too, but do give us a progress report in another twenty years...
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 11:04
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The only bad thing about "Youth" is it is wasted on the Young!
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Old 5th Jan 2012, 17:46
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Not sure if you can compare it, at all...

The googles used today seem to be much lighter than the "old fashioned" Gen1´s....

Has anyone ever compared the available models (i.e. weight, balance etc.)?
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