[at-l] backpacking with a bad back

Amy Forinash aeforinash at gmail.com
Sun Jul 3 10:18:28 CDT 2011

I recently started having some new back / sacroiliac pain, and my chiro sent me for an x ray and then an MRI.  I have five bulging disks - 3 lumbar, 1 thoracic, one cervical.  2 of the lumbar disks are torn.  And the L5-S1 joint looks like two heads of cauliflower having an argument.

I'm headed to a neurosurgeon on Friday to get professional advice, but I'd love to hear from anybody with similar issues about how, if at all, it has affected your backpacking.  Do you have to carry a lighter pack?  Sturdier pack frame?  Do shorter miles?  Avoid steep sections?  Is it really horrible when you fall?

The back pain I'm having isn't horrible, and in fact is not nearly as bad as it was ten years ago before I started doing yoga and a lot of walking.  So I'm thinking I will be fine.  I mean, I walked 1400 miles last year and most of this damage was probably already there.  But I bet the neurosurgeon will tell me otherwise - everybody always tells me to stop doing the things I love when stuff goes wrong.  I usually ignore them, which might be why I have five bad disks now.


More information about the at-l mailing list