Author Topic: Hiking with back pain?  (Read 216 times)

The Wondering Wanderer

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Hiking with back pain?
« on: 17:27:26, 25/01/18 »
Hi all,

Does anyone have any hints on how to minimise back pain while hiking?

My wife suffers from back troubles but wants to be able to join me on hikes from time to time.

So far we know that trekking poles help quite a bit, but not so much that she doesn't still end up suffering somewhat.

I realise this is probably a topic with no easy answer but thought I'd ask, in case there's something really obvious we just haven't thought of.



Welsh Rambler

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Re: Hiking with back pain?
« Reply #1 on: 19:49:15, 25/01/18 »
I find two walking poles a great help because they reduce the chance of slipping on muddy ground and twisting which for me invariably ends up in a slipped disc. The other thing I find useful is a neoprene support belt which keeps the back warm. I wouldn't wear it next to the skin because you may get a reaction from the neoprene and you will probably sweat a lot but I find it a great aid. They are not expensive but work well for me.

The other bit of help is to carry her sandwiches  :)

Regards Keith


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Re: Hiking with back pain?
« Reply #2 on: 19:59:01, 25/01/18 »
I suppose it depends on what is causing the back pain in the first place?

For example; I get back "ache" if I've not worn my rucksack for a while.  I'm assuming it's because I'm all of a sudden carrying more weight and compressing my spine somewhat and also using micro-muscles that don't get used without a pack. Solution; do short walks with a loaded pack and gradually increase the distance.

Or; when I was recovering from sciatica; walk short (very short) distances then sit down, do some stretches, walk some more, repeat (no rucksack at all).

To be honest, seeking the advice of her doctor should be a first port of call as walking may aggravate any underlying condition and hinder recovery or speed up degeneration.

Even something as unobvious/simple/daft as different footwear or insoles may help (or hinder), depending on the underlying cause of her back troubles.

No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)


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Re: Hiking with back pain?
« Reply #3 on: 20:27:28, 25/01/18 »
Obviously I do not know what back pain your wife suffers from so I can only tell you mine. From time to time I get intense muscular pain in my lumber region. Sometimes I can do something really stupid, which is what I did the other day. I moved a washing machine using my trusty sack trolley and was bent over, holding it so it wouldn't fall off until I got it in my garage, which is about 100 yds away from our house. I know how my back problems work, I should have known better but for some reason I just could not help or stop myself. The next two days I was in acute pain, at its worst after sitting down in a chair for a while and then trying to stand up. To get from a sitting position to being upright my body feels just like a rusty hinge. Once upright I have no problems at all, I can walk and run normally. As my wife said, the answer is don't move washing machines without help! I've had this now-and-again problem for about 12 years now and have caught myself out about 5 times in that period. To avoid it, when I bend over, or bend down, for example to pick something up from a low coffee table or from the floor, I stand up straight as soon as the job is done. If for example I stayed bending over to pick up say ten things, one after the other, that would be enough to get my back pain raging for a few days.

I also used to have a Lightwave rucksack, caused me no end of back muscular pain, sometimes I would spend most of my hiking day shifting my bag, just trying to find that one position where it stopped nagging at me! My solution was to dump the Lightwave and buy an Osprey rucksack, my back ache whilst walking has never happened again since. I also have a pair of Polarpoles and when hiking up or down steep areas I've convinced myself they really help me because I can push down on them rather than have to vertically grip like the other types. For me hiking backpain is now a thing of the past.

Luckily I have never personally suffered from a slipped disk and I do not have any knee, hip, or arthritus problems either. It must be magic because everyone that I know around my age group, when I meet them in the pub all seem to have varying types and intensity of back, knee, hip and leg pains.

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Hiking with back pain?
« Reply #4 on: 22:37:22, 25/01/18 »
Thanks everyone.

There's some really good advice and ideas in there. It'll probably be a bit trial and error to find the best combination. We can't stop her back pain as it's pretty much 24/7. We're just trying to mitigate how bad it gets from hiking.

Gunwharfman: maybe it's all that time in the great outdoors that's keeping those pains at bay. Everywhere I go to read about hiking people say about how great they feel after doing it for a while.

I really hope I get that benefit from it.


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Re: Hiking with back pain?
« Reply #5 on: 23:09:56, 25/01/18 »
Different things will help different problems so it is hard to offer advice but...

2 poles helped me when out walking when I was recovering from sciatica.
My Dad was told, and found it helped, to always wear proper supportive leather lace-up shoes.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where