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back trouble

xate

New Member
#1
i feel called to do the camino del norte, but i don't know how i will ever make it. the past three years i have struggled with two slipped disks (bandscheibenvorfall), and there were many days when i could not even get off the floor alone or tie my shoes. i was shocked on vacation that i could carry a 10 kilo backpack at all.

from what i have read, alot of people who are not athletes do fine on the camino.. and i do feel fine now, but not athletic.. what do y'all think? is determination good enough to get me there?

i am planning to go in mid september or october starting at biaritz airport, and to camp out at least half of the nights. i think.
 

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#2
Hi

If it is any consolation I have twice had a slipped disk and on one occasion, like you, couldn't get out of bed in the morning. I saw a physio who said that walking was the best cure (I had no bone damage). I went straight out and walked 15 miles a day for the next week with no trouble, though it was still painful when I stopped. A couple of years later (last year)I walked the Camino Frances and this year carried a full pack up the Offa's Dyke path in the UK. No problems!

Hope you do as well!

Best wishes
 
#3
Hello Xate,

I also have back troubles caused by a bulging disk and two compression fractures in my spine due to osteoporosis. Feeling the call to walk the camino frances, I worried about my ability to carry a backpack while climbing all those hills!

Well I was able to on both counts! Walked the camino frances from Roncesvalles to Santiago during May without any problem. Of course I experienced some pain during first couple of days, but it went away with an arthritis strength Tylenol.

This is the strategy that worked for me:
1) first and foremost, a strong determination to do it
2) trained with the backpack for a full week,
3) kept backpack weight at a max of 7 kilos, tightly affixed to my hips,
4) walked at a normal pace, never too fast
5) used two trekking poles for balance and to keep my back perfectly straight.

It's true you do not have to be an athlete to do the camino, just listen to your body and if you are feeling any pain, take off your backpack and rest for a while. I'm sure you'll do fine in the camino del norte, just keep your backpack weight to a minimum.

Buen camino peregrina!
 

xate

New Member
#5
thanks for the encouragement!
i am just soo nervous.. especially going alone and without medical insurance.. (yes i know this is stupid, but i cant afford it)

how do you use the walking sticks? i have seen people carrying them, but it always seems more like they are just dragging behind them..

does anyone have advice about what type of pad to sleep on? (isomatte)
 

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#6
dear xate,

Using walking sticks is very simple, as it just follows the natural rythm of the arms while walking. It may appear that you are dragging them behind you, but you are indeed pushing yourself forward with your arms, which by the way benefit from the exercise.

To learn how to use them, check the lower part of this online page several Quicktime training movies. This is the link http://www.terrischneider.net/training/ ... rview.html

Once again, practice, practice and then go on to the camino!
[/quote]
 
#7
paulmack said:
Hi

If it is any consolation I have twice had a slipped disk and on one occasion, like you, couldn't get out of bed in the morning. I saw a physio who said that walking was the best cure (I had no bone damage). I went straight out and walked 15 miles a day for the next week with no trouble, though it was still painful when I stopped. A couple of years later (last year)I walked the Camino Frances and this year carried a full pack up the Offa's Dyke path in the UK. No problems!

Hope you do as well!

Best wishes
I sure hope you are right!

I was going to finish the Appalachian Trail, leaving this past April and pulled my back at the gym a couple of weeks before leaving. Mine too, was likely muscle pulled and fortunately not bone damage even though vertebrae L5 showed moderate deterioration on the xrays. So, I decided to do another Camino, this time , the Via de la Plata this autumn, since i would not have to carry as much gear as on the AT, and have started back with just a walking regimen to train for it. As such, I do hope your physical therapist was right. When that little muscle on the right side of my lower back pulled (if that was really what it was), the pain was completely debilitating. I don't want to go through that again, ever, and I sure don't want to give up backpacking, either! Medicine is still quite an inexact science.
 
#8
you are right. I forgot about muscle damage!

Mine was the old problem of the cushion between the vertebrae bulging and pressing in the spinal nerve. The old medical advice was bed rest, but now, they say that you should build up your muscle strength which will help to hold it all in place until it shrinks back. I am not medically trained so I hope that I have got this right. It really worked for me!!
 
#9
How to Build up Back Muscles

paulmack said:
you are right. I forgot about muscle damage!

Mine was the old problem of the cushion between the vertebrae bulging and pressing in the spinal nerve. The old medical advice was bed rest, but now, they say that you should build up your muscle strength which will help to hold it all in place until it shrinks back. I am not medically trained so I hope that I have got this right. It really worked for me!!
What exercise did you do to build up the lower back muscles?

Did you do any other exercise other than walking?
 
#10
Hope this helps

Hi there

I am a trained Osteopath and understand a bit of what you are saying therefore I can tell you that yes you should not stop doing something for some herniated discs. First of all you should think what are the likely causes that have made the discs to bulge.

Normally a disc has its problems whan subjected to too much weight hence if you are overweight try to lose some it will definetly help. Then when you are choosing a rocksack you should take one that sits well on your hips so that the extra weight of your bag is not going through the spine but it goes to the hips and then legs. There are some places on the net or forums that can help you adjusting your bag.

Then it is of vital importance that the muscles that brace your back (especially abdominis transversus) are well toned so that your belly is not bulging out carrying with it the back forward. Simple pilates classes can really make the difference. This will help you with your core stability muscles most probably getting rid of your back pain and making your sex life better!

Second smoking damages the fibers of the disc making it less strong. At night when you sleep the disc absorbs fluid and during the day, when under pressure it releases fluid. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you walk this will help keep the disc hydrated hence more able to take abuses from the ground force and weight.

When you put your bag on your shoulder make sure that you are not putting directly on your back as an act of bravery instead try to either put the bag first on a table or ask someone to help you. It is torsion movements that causes the disc to get more damaged. So the less you turn around when you are lifting weights the better it is.

If you have any worries please send me a message to mixtlipec@yahoo.com i will try to help you as much as I can. I cna not treat people over the internet. I am not that powerfull

Take care and Buen Camino

Patrick

Please note that I have not examined you so this are just general advices that I give people There are plenty trained Osteopath in Germany whom are really good. You might want to get an opinion from them.
 
#11
Re: Hope this helps

mixtlipec said:
Hi there

I am a trained Osteopath and understand a bit of what you are saying therefore I can tell you that yes you should not stop doing something for some herniated discs. First of all you should think what are the likely causes that have made the discs to bulge.

Normally a disc has its problems whan subjected to too much weight hence if you are overweight try to lose some it will definetly help. Then when you are choosing a rocksack you should take one that sits well on your hips so that the extra weight of your bag is not going through the spine but it goes to the hips and then legs. There are some places on the net or forums that can help you adjusting your bag.

Then it is of vital importance that the muscles that brace your back (especially abdominis transversus) are well toned so that your belly is not bulging out carrying with it the back forward. Simple pilates classes can really make the difference. This will help you with your core stability muscles most probably getting rid of your back pain and making your sex life better!

Second smoking damages the fibers of the disc making it less strong. At night when you sleep the disc absorbs fluid and during the day, when under pressure it releases fluid. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you walk this will help keep the disc hydrated hence more able to take abuses from the ground force and weight.

When you put your bag on your shoulder make sure that you are not putting directly on your back as an act of bravery instead try to either put the bag first on a table or ask someone to help you. It is torsion movements that causes the disc to get more damaged. So the less you turn around when you are lifting weights the better it is.

If you have any worries please send me a message to mixtlipec@yahoo.com i will try to help you as much as I can. I cna not treat people over the internet. I am not that powerfull

Take care and Buen Camino

Patrick

Please note that I have not examined you so this are just general advices that I give people There are plenty trained Osteopath in Germany whom are really good. You might want to get an opinion from them.
A great post and excellent advice.
Thanks for it :D
Where do you practice?
 

Whalleyranger

Moderator
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Jul-Aug 05, Frances, Jul-Aug 06, Portugues, Oct 2010
#12
I've suffered from slipped discs in the past and have managed to walk the Camino Frances twice. I'd second all of the above advice - make sure your rucksack sits on your hips not your shoulders, ask your physio to recommend back exercises to strengthen your back before you go, and take it easy if you need to.
If all else fails, brufen or codeine is your friend!
 
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Charles Montera El Camino del Norte 12

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