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  1. #1
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    Herniated Discs and hammocks

    I want to share a story with you guys, I know it's long but I tend to be a bit long winded, sorry. Anyway...

    A little over 3 and 1/2 years ago I herniated a disc while lifting a bag of dog food (I really wish I had a more exciting story than that) and I was almost completely bedridden for about 12 weeks following that injury. Since that time I have re-injured twice, but not to the same degree, and each re-injury was followed by a much shorter convalescence period. However, at no point since the initial injury have I been pain free. My VA doctors want me to have surgery and take painkillers like codeine, etc. but I don't want surgery and I don't like the way drugs make me feel. So I have learned to live with/manage the pain with ibuprofen and physical therapy. The hardest part of the day is first thing in the morning. Getting out of bed is like having a knife in my back but within an hour or so of activity the pain has dulled to a 3 (out of 10) and I can get on with my day.

    Then a few weeks ago while perusing instructables.com my wife spots a hammock related instructable. She asked me if I had ever slept in one and if I thought it might help my back. I told her that I hadn't but that I had been thinking about it for my hikes so we talked about it a little and decided that we didn't see how sleeping like a banana would help but that it was worth looking into/trying since we have a family camping trip planned for June. So we bought the skeeter beeter (turns out my proportions are too generous for that one but my son is well within the weight range for it). So, I did some research and one of the first things I found was Shug's video series on youtube. As soon as I saw the "lay diagonally" bit, I decided to give it a go. I ordered a Skeeter Beeter Pro (much higher weight limit).

    I waited impatiently for a week and after it arrived I did a few test hangs and asked a lot of questions here in these forums but never spent more than a few minutes in the hammock. Then, a few days ago, I found a DIY thread about building a stand. So I bought some 2x4s, various nuts and bolts, etc. and the neighbor and I spent an afternoon building the stand. We brought it in the house and My wife and I figured out how to get it into the bedroom (even if we can't sleep together in the bed we can be together in the room).

    The first night was not good. I thought that since I was indoors I wouldn't need a pad or under-quilt so I froze. And the combination of nerves/being cold made me have to get up three times during the night with a sense of bladder urgency I haven't felt since my navy/drinking days.

    That was five nights ago. For the last four nights I have slept comfortably (though I have woken up somewhat moist) with a $5 walmart blue pad. Each of the following mornings I woke up with less back pain than the morning before. And today, for the first time in over 3 and 1/2 years, I woke up with no back pain at all.

    Many many thanks to all the people here who have kindly answered my questions. Without your expertise (I don't care what you say, you're all experts in my book.) today would have started, just like the last 1277... In pain.

  2. #2
    sr1355's Avatar
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    Thats AWESOME Mike.... Glad to hear it's helped alleviate that morning back pain... I have some mild lower back pain and love sleeping in the hammock as it seems to make it more bearable in the mornings. I'd do it more but the GF already thinks I'm off my rocker...
    Happy Hangin'

    Paul - Master Fabric Welder @ UGQ

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  3. #3
    Senior Member wirerat123's Avatar
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    3 herniated discs is a large part of the reason I started looking into hammock camping about 8 years ago. Man I wish I had known about this DIY thing back then lol.
    Fulfillment is living a life that makes the lives of others worth living.
    DIY is addicting and fulfilling!
    "If guns kill people, then pencils mispell words, cars cause people to drink and drive, and spoons made Rosie O'donnell fat."

  4. #4
    Senior Member ganon414's Avatar
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    So happy for you mikewithe! Finally, a peaceful morning for you I am not even remotely a morning person, so I can't fathom waking with that much pain every day. If you continue your perusal of the forum, which I highly recommend, you'll find that there are many permanent indoor hangers here. I'm sure some will chime in with their setups. It sounds to me like you'll be further investigating/investing into your indoor hangs, so more power to you! If you want to avoid the sweaties, I would recommend a light, breathable underquilt. Nothing fancy to start, maybe even rig up a down or fleece throw blanket underneath you and you'll be even more comfortable!

    --Tim

  5. #5
    Senior Member wirerat123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganon414 View Post
    Nothing fancy to start, maybe even rig up a down or fleece throw blanket underneath you and you'll be even more comfortable!

    --Tim
    Was just about to suggest that hehe. Just rig something up for the time being and since it's an indoors setup it doesn't matter how thick, or silly it is as long as it works.

    If I were to build an indoor setup, I would just get me some 72" wide ripstop, and sew a cheap down blankie to the bottom in a way that keeps it from compressing, whip or channel the ends, then hang her up and relax.

    My fiance hasn't fully bought into this idea yet.

    Hrmm, I already have a double layer hammock built with an inner layer of fleece. Plus a cheap smaller down blanket I could hrmm. I got plans for tonight!!!
    Fulfillment is living a life that makes the lives of others worth living.
    DIY is addicting and fulfilling!
    "If guns kill people, then pencils mispell words, cars cause people to drink and drive, and spoons made Rosie O'donnell fat."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bomber's Avatar
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    Good to hear you are getting your life back and being painless

    I have a similar story, though i got the surgery done same day i went to the doctor. To cut a long boring story short - i didn't get any deep sleep for 2 year(literately!) i used to wake every time i tried to turn or the missus did. But by chance found out i could sleep in a hammock. Once i find my sweet spot, i can lay all night in that position without waking up because of pain(which of course have had a major impact on my everyday life). So i also sleep in my hammock 365days(nights) a year I am far from painless though

    It's amazing how many success stories there is when it comes to back troubles and hammocks, the doctors should start to prescribe hammocks instead of painkillers
    Last edited by Bomber; 05-18-2011 at 12:51. Reason: Deleted first line by accident(or lack of brain - i dunno...)
    /Bomber.LTD
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Oscar-Blackeagle's Avatar
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    It's so good to hear stories like this. I don't use a hammock in the house yet, but it will be replacing my bed when it wears out.

    I used to do a lot of tent camping in my teens and twenties and a sleeping bag on hard ground was perfectly fine. I hadn't slept in a tent for over 10 years and I'm now on the verge of 40 years old. I recently decided that I should have a tent to accompany my hammock for those times I might want to sleep on the ground instead (some situations). I tested it a couple weekends ago, using a Thermarest pad I have had for years. I tossed and turned all night and woke up in the morning sore and tired. I slept four hours in my own bed after coming home. The soreness I experienced was all over my body and I don't even have back problems. I own two WBB's and I'm not planning on going back to tents anytime soon.
    Proving to the world that I can hang.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Pro Vagabond's Avatar
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    Mornings are the worst!

    I have a herniated disk that was just diagnosed 2 months ago and I agree, the mornings are terrible! Through excersice and staying active, it is down to a dull roar, but I still have to take 200mg of Vitamin I every day in the am. At the spring MAHHA, I slept in the hammock for a couple nights and woke up with vertually no pain. Once the relatives leave this weekend, I'm planning on broaching the subject with the misses. I'm not sure how that's gonna go...

    Good luck with both the hammock and the back!

  9. #9
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    Another mild backpain hiker here (since I injured it at 13). Nothing like what your experiencing, but I do notice zero back pain rolling out of the hammock whereas every morning out of the mattress has some kind of stiffness or soreness.

    Not sure mine is enough to convince SWMBO to let me bring a stand in our room (or do we have the room).

    Glad to hear this hobby has practical, everyday applications.

  10. #10
    Member TheNumberSix's Avatar
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    Getting off of the ground is so much better for my back. 20% of Americans are walking around with an asymptomatic herniated disc.
    -TheNumberSix

    "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, brief, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own!"

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