Re: [Hammock Camping] back still sore
- How tight do you have your hammock? I like mine fairly tight so it lays
----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Lewis" <brianle@...>
> I'm still getting a crick in the middle of my back, and am groping for
> solutions. I suppose one might be to improve the musculature of my
> back through exercise ...
> Meanwhile, here on planet earth <grin>, I was thinking of cutting up
> about 30" of close celled foam (ccf) into a 6" strip, a 4" strip, and
> a 2" strip. Superglue the 4" strip onto the 6", then the 2" strip
> onto the 4", so I end up with a 30" long ccf ~triangle. Put that
> centered ("point" side down) under my foam pad from tailbone to
> base-of-the-neck, to reduce the amount of curvature I'm getting, i.e.,
> to make me sleep flatter *laterally*.
- I really appreciate all the feedback on this.
"I'm studying to be a personal trainer at the moment,
and was wondering whether you might have a muscular
imbalance? ie. either weak erector spinae (back) in
comparison to your abdominals, which might cause you
discomfort or postural issues. What therapy exercises
were you doing?"
I think it's hard to diagnose these things via just text, but here goes!
I have a right shoulder rotator cuff problem, specifically,
impingement of the supraspinatus.
Among the exercises I'm doing includes one where I lay face down on a
table and sort of hunch my shoulders upwards while holding weights ---
that gets right to the same part of the back I'm sore in from the
hammock --- but I wouldn't jump to assume causality there (I just
don't know). I also (standing) lean with my back against a wall in
another exercise and push off with my hands and again "hunch" at the
shoulders to push farther off from the wall, hitting that same area.
And in yet another (standing) exercise I use a giant rubber band to
resist while my bent-at-90-degrees right arm rotates outwards, which
affects this somewhat too.
Maybe there is some muscular imbalance; I sure wish I had gotten the
more complete owners manual when I got this body ... it's held up well
so far, but I'm thinking maybe it's time for a trade-in or something
(or at least a 50,000 mile service) ...
To Bill: While I sleep on my side sometimes, I just can't do that
comfortably all night. It's sleeping on my back that causes this. I
don't see how putting something under my knees would help --- my sense
is that would effect the lower back, but it's right between the
shoulder blades that I'm sore.
To Jeff: Thanks very much for your idea --- a real forehead slapper
for me. Of *course* I should try rolling up a rain jacket or
something like that before cutting up ccf and adding gear! Next time
I'm out I'll try this.
To Amy: Being fairly clueless when it comes to medical stuff I'm not
seeing how hip flexors would impact this, but I don't think mine are
inflexible; from a standing position I can put the palms of my hands
on the floor with my knees locked (mind you, I'm relatively long in
the upper body and short-legged).
To Scott: I think the key issue for me is to focus not on the
longitudinal hammock sag, but on the latteral (side-by-side)
constriction of the shoulders, i.e., my shoulders are forced to round
forward over a long period of time when lying on my back in the
hammock. I appreciate the chirogeek web pointer; that's a scary site!
I guess I could try chiropractic and acupuncture and qi gong and a
lot of other options at some point as indeed my physical therapist's
approach doesn't even seem to be helping my shoulder (much less my
Again, I really appreciate the inputs, and apologies to those that
aren't interested in mid-back pain details.
- Wow, that is up really high on your back. I was imagining it being
lower, where mine hurts when I sleep on the ground. :-)
You know, you might actually benefit from something like a spreader
bar, so that you can lie on your back with very little squeeze on your
shoulders. Or a stiff pad, maybe a ccf pad reinforced with thin
fiberglass rods or something like that. Or depending on the size,
shape, and stiffness of your pack, you might be able to use it to lie
on and spread things out?
For something to stuff under you like Jeff said, if you already carry a
large platy or the bag from a wine box, that might work when blown up
Bill in Houston
--- In email@example.com, "Brian Lewis" <brianle@...>
> Among the exercises I'm doing includes one where I lay face down on a
> table and sort of hunch my shoulders upwards while holding weights ---
> that gets right to the same part of the back I'm sore in from the
> hammock --- but I wouldn't jump to assume causality there (I just
> To Bill: While I sleep on my side sometimes, I just can't do that
> comfortably all night. It's sleeping on my back that causes this. I
> don't see how putting something under my knees would help --- my sense
> is that would effect the lower back, but it's right between the
> shoulder blades that I'm sore.
- Brian, sounds to me like shoulder pinch is your primary problem. I
don't thing putting something *under* you will help all that much.
You need to stretch the hammock away from your shoulders.
One way would be to get an extra stiff CCF pad that is wider than
your shoulders and use it as a kinda spreader platform to keep the
hammock from scrunching your shoulders up.
Also, as you mentioned, your upper body may be a little longer
causing your center of gravity to be different than ours. I'm not
really sure how this would relate to your upper/middle back but it
may. Try hanging the hammock at different angles (foot end
higher/lower) to see if it changes anything.
I built my summer hammock 11 feet long and this really helped end
the shoulder pinch. I can have a lot more sag and not have my feet
falling off the end. I lie more on the diagonal and that allows more
room for my shoulders. The difference is so good I may build all of
my hammocks this length. The only drawback is the extra weight,
which is why I tried it with my summer hammock first. The winter
hammock doesn't have as much pinch due to the CCF pads I use, but it
is still more than the new summer hammock.
Try a small pillow, or stuff sack filled with clothes. I use a small
travel pillow cut in half, about the size of a paperback book. If I
don't I get a small pain between my shoulder blades but up high,
kinda between my lower neck and the middle of my shoulder blades.
The pillow makes it go away.
Just a couple of things I noticed when I first started building
hammocks. I get more shoulder pinch when I pull the sides during
whipping, I leave 'em slack now. Mor sag is better, to a point, and
my non-ridgeline hammocks seem to be more comfy than my ridgeline
equipped ones, just not as easy to set up. Longer is more comfy than
shorter. I also like the *W* fold better than the other one.
To Amy: Being fairly clueless when it comes to medical stuff I'm not
> seeing how hip flexors would impact this, but I don't think mineare
> inflexible; from a standing position I can put the palms of myhands
> on the floor with my knees locked (mind you, I'm relatively long inround
> the upper body and short-legged).
> To Scott: I think the key issue for me is to focus not on the
> longitudinal hammock sag, but on the latteral (side-by-side)
> constriction of the shoulders, i.e., my shoulders are forced to
> forward over a long period of time when lying on my back in theBrian
> Again, I really appreciate the inputs, and apologies to those that
> aren't interested in mid-back pain details.