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Thread: Hammocks and bad backs

  1. #1
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    Default Hammocks and bad backs

    Has anyone with back problems any words of wisdom on hammock camping. I'd like to get into this but I have serious back problems and would appreciate feedback and advice from anyone with experience. Obviously one answer would be try it and see (and I intend to) but I thought it would be useful to hear from those who've had more experience than a quick trial period could give me.
    Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.

    A.A. Milne

  2. #2
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    Can you say where or what sort of back trouble you have?

    I ask because some back pain is caused by the lower back being forced to curve the wrong way. This might be exacerbated by lying in a hammock. It could help people give you better advice.

    Also, you might want to ask on the Bushcraft UK forum where you'll probably find even more hammock users: www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/

  3. #3
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    I suffer from old injuries to the vertebrae and spinal nerve roots of my lower back and a consequently developed spinal disease (Arachnoiditis) that causes pressure on the spinal chord and nerve roots from lower back up to shoulder level.

    My problems are mainly exacerbated by lack of support and cold (possibly a problem given the lack of insulation on underside of hammock)

    good advice about the bushcraft forum I will post there too
    Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.

    A.A. Milne

  4. #4
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    I can't say I've ever had any back problems (touches nearest wood) but I will say hammocks are really comfy if you lay properly, that is on the diagonal and as flat as possible. Obviously you do get a slight curve no matter how flat you try to lay so whether that would be a bad thing for you I don't know.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in suggesting to try one, even if it's just for half an hour to see how you get on.
    Rich




  5. #5
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    Oh dear; if cold is an issue you will NEED one of those down quilts you hang under the hammock. Otherwise it'll get very very cold on your back.

    I'm wondering which would be better, the cold hard ground, or the hammock. I hope you find some arrangement that works for you. Please remember to post what you experienced; both good and bad, so we can all learn from it.

  6. #6

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    It does depend on what injury you have?

    I had a prolapse when I was sixteen years old, I am now 37 so I've had a bit of experience....!

    I think that canoeing isn't great for your back in general but that hasn't stopped me over the years! There are certain things that I would avoid like the plague & sleeping in a hamock would be one of them! It would be like laying on an old worn out mattress!

    I wouldn't even try - Im sure, I would be stiffer than a carbon/Kevlar boat!

    Stick with the therm-a-rest, I say!

    Also

    A pocket sprung bed with a memory foam pillow in my house works wonders!

    Hope that helps?

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Default insulation

    On the insulation front.
    I hammock camp sometimes and use a thermorest mattress underneath me, my hammock has two layers so you can put any sort of insulation inbetween the two layers; a spare sleeping bag might be a nice addition. I wasn't cold this March even though my gas bottle froze, must remember to take it to bed with me next time.

    http://www.ddhammocks.com/products/h...travel-hammock

    I've no link to the company, just a satisfied customer.

    On the bad back front (sorry).
    I agree, you will need to try before you buy as everyone's back problems are different.
    Will you be at Ullswater this weekend? I could bring my hammock for you to try.

    Hils (who is just going to phone the campsite to book )




  8. #8
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    I occasionally get a sore back if I lie flat for too long but never get this in a hammock. I find it supports my back well and the slight curve is an advantage.

    Of course everyones experience is different so you will need to try it. As said if cold is an issue and under blanket will really help and keep your back toasty warm.
    John

  9. #9
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    Default Bad back

    hello Bookworm, the try it and see advice is it.I have a bad back and suffer back pain at all times.....the causes....bricklaying as a profession ,auld age i guess and having thrown many motorcycles doon the road in my teens twenties and thirties.Chronic back pain is the result but sleeping on a soft or "done" mattress or worse still a feather bed leads to difficulty in even walking.My experience with several differing hammock types is that sleeping on them willl not aggravate a flare up but equally will not give the firm support i need in recovering.Try the borrowed one before investing your hard earnedwillie
    "Every action of our lives touches on
    some chord that will vibrate in eternity"

    Edwin Hubbel Chapin

  10. #10
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    hi , me and my mates use dd frontline hammocks and we swear by them. you can ajust the tention for comfort and experiment with different roll mats to tune it too your needs. i have back pain from work and can't wait till the weekend for some hammock time

  11. #11
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    It really is a case of try before you buy as some people cannot sleep in them and others can't sleep in anything else. I've done both and hammocking in the winter isn't worth troubleing over for me. I do find it much better to be a ground dweller in winter, where you have a chance to stop the drafts around you. But, like I said, try before you buy.
    PS. I did have a bad back 1 night after using a hammock, but that was because I fell sraight out t'other side when getting in after consuming a bottle of bourbon.
    The older you get, the older you get, the older you get. Damn! Where was I?........ Where`s my glasses? Who the hell are you?

  12. #12
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    Thank you for all the advice, need to try it and see now. DD Hammocks are the ones I was considering so its good to hear such positive feedback.

    Packman - like you my back causes pain at all times, not fun is it.

    Actually I also have significant loss of feeling in my legs and partial paralysis - so walking is problematic. I agree canoeing isnt the best thing in the world for bad backs but its a lot easier on it than rowing! As well as liking canoeing for its own sake it also acts like a waterborne wheelchair allowing me access to the country, solitude etc etc that I wouldnt normally have Although paddling hurts it hurts me less than pushing my wheelchair.

    At the moment the only camp sleeping solution that works for me is a thick inflatable mattress with as much pressure in it as possible. I still have hopes of hammocks but I agree with the posts about support - that is the crucial issue I think. Time to suck it and see!

    Look forward to meeting some of you at Ullswater
    Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.

    A.A. Milne

  13. #13
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    Default

    As others have said it's all down to what your particular back problem is.

    On the hammock forums out there the general consensus seems to be that a hammock [insulation aside] will cradle every part of you so you don't have any hard pressure points, so it's easier to sleep on you back. A rolled up fleece behind the knees is usually a necessity.

    The other thing that sleeping in a diagonal across the hammock tends to leave you in a shallow arc, gently pulling your vertebrae and stretching you slightly. most respondents indicate that this is why they get a good nights sleep although since most seem to be ultra hikers I suspect the relief after a 30 mile day would be enough.

    You just have to try it and see, but I found it will take a couple of nights to get used to it so don't give up too quickly - and make sure your back is well insulated.
    Obscured by Clouds

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  14. #14
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    Iv'e spent many months in hammock (army jungle type) and never had any problems (except for the time a wasp took up residence) .Therma rest inside for sure or you'll get a cold bum. I also have a Mexican job (possibly from the Mexican hammock company) in which you lie laterally, this has only been used in the garden and seems to be made of something which attracts dogs so never used solo... Try it before you rely on it!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimbus View Post
    and seems to be made of something which attracts dogs so never used solo...
    I did wonder how I'd get the dog in there
    Rivers know this: There is no hurry, we shall get there some day.

    A.A. Milne

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