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    Prolonged Hammocking = Curvature of the spine?

    Howdy. Just wanted I throw it out there for discussion. I've been reading a post from an AT hiker who has been on the trail for over 6 months now, hammocking most of the time. His last post said that he thinks that perhaps his hammocking may be contributing to curving of his spine (what ever he meant by that)
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    iRokk's Avatar
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    Get Olddog in here, he is a full-timer, 365 days a year. I'm sure if there were any adverse effects, he'd know!
    I may be dumb, but at least I'm ugly!

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    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Imagine what sleeping on the ground is gonna do to his spine!

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    samsara's Avatar
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    I'm a former full timer (for a little less than a year) and while I don't have any scientific/medical facts I do think that I have issues that are not caused by the hammock but are not averted due to the use of a hammock. Let me explain...

    I have scoliosis and a bad back (from injuries) but sleeping in the hammock gave me a good nights sleep and a fairly pain free morning. I dove into the hammock thing because it was so good on my back and so comfortable in general. I believe (remember that this is just personal opinion) that the reason hammocks are so good for so many people's backs is because it doesn't cause muscle pain, which is what most folks have a problem with.

    Fast forward through about a year of full time hammocking to February of this year. I had a very painful bulging disc in my back that is in an area that I have had issues (but no pain until Feb) with for many years and is probably completely due to my scoliosis but was brought on by lack of stretches/exercise and sub-optimal posture. This is where I think the hammock didn't help even as much as a bed would... it couldn't give me the structural support and manipulation to help recover my bad disc. I eventually started sleeping on the floor and after a couple of months of severe pain it started to get better.

    When I finally started sleeping in my hammock again it took less than a week for me to start feeling the disc bulge again. That's when I formulated my hypothesis and have been sleeping on the floor (on a thin pad... but I'm actually comfortable... who knew) ever since.

    Like I said, I have no proof other than a bulging disc from a curved spine that seems to get worse when I sleep in a hammock. Fortunately I can still do a few days here and there in the hammock.

    I guess to summarize my long winded post: I think that the hammock is good if you have muscular pain but might not be helpful if you have skeletal/structural problems. Whether the hammock causes the problem or not, I really don't know (my guess is that a hammock wouldn't cause a problem but if a problem is already there then at times a hammock might not be a solution and could potentially make the problem worse).

    Dave
    Last edited by samsara; 11-12-2013 at 20:09.
    "Laying and swaying in a hammock is like a steady morphine drip without the risk of renal failure" - Dale Gribble

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    I sit in a chair a lot at work and in my car, I hope it doesn't contribute to the curvature of my hips or knees

    Or, many people walk on their feet, yet, many of them still have arches in their feet

    Just having some fun here.

    He may not be laying in a hammock correctly.
    Seen many folks laying like a banana(in a curve). Laying on the bias is what makes the hammy so comfortable.

    Edit: Dave, this was not directed towards you. We both ended up posting at the same time and you beat me by a few seconds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floridahanger View Post
    He may not be laying in a hammock correctly.
    Seen many folks laying like a banana(in a curve). Laying on the bias is what makes the hammy so comfortable.
    Lying (slightly) diagonally in a gathered-end hammock may reduce the curve, but it is still a long way from 'flat' (flat=lying on the floor), as has been discussed a lot in other threads.

    Hundreds of pics here demonstrate this - I've seen way more 'knees and feet in the air' pics than I needed!

    We're lying on a stretchy bed, and most of our weight is in the middle of our bodies, so the curve is the result.

    Even in my 'true diagonal suspension' hammock (Exped Ergo) with a fully inflated pad in the pocket, I'm sleeping in a curve. It is comfy!

    I'm lucky - I can get a decent nights sleep in a bed (firm mattress), hammock (Ergo) or on a (thick) pad on the ground.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaGuy View Post
    Lying (slightly) diagonally in a gathered-end hammock may reduce the curve, but it is still a long way from 'flat' (flat=lying on the floor), as has been discussed a lot in other threads.

    Hundreds of pics here demonstrate this - I've seen way more 'knees and feet in the air' pics than I needed!

    We're lying on a stretchy bed, and most of our weight is in the middle of our bodies, so the curve is the result...
    Not sure why your pointing this out since I didn't say anything about 'flat' or even flatlike.

    I did mention, however, that lying in the hammock that gives the "banana look" is also giving the body a curve in the hammock, eluding that the "pronounced" curve may not be the best for the body and for comfort.

    Some like a very hard surface, floor or board like, others a very soft surface and everything in between.

    I did mention that the diaganal lay in a hammock may be the best use of the hammock for comfort.

    Of course, not for all. My wife loves to rest but cannot sleep in a gathered end due to her leg and knee discomfort. I think a bridge may be in her future.
    Enjoy and have fun with your family, before they have fun without you

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    hmm so much to go with here....
    a bulging disk is best to lay flat with knees(and therefore feet) elevated. picture a s'more, well leave the chocolate out, your vertebrae are the cracker , the disk is the marshmallow. now pinch a side and the marshmallow would squeeze out the other side. welcome to a bulging disk. beware the side you "trapped " pinching the marshmallow as well.
    flat and firm is the best way to take pressure off the disks evenly.
    scoliosis is a lateral (sideway, think left to right) curvature to the spine. the spine curves 3 times in the body(not including sacrum) and these are front to back curves, the neck, mid back (usual scoliosis is here) and then lower back. with a scoliosis I think hammocking can aggravate it quickly ESPECIALLY if stretches and strengthening that were prescribed are not done regularly. if you have a large enough hammock for a true diagonal with no pressure to push the head and feel back to centre (of hammock), I would think a bridge hammock would be ideal for that, I am told it is a flat lay, no shoulder squeeze.
    as for anybody with a body that has...hmmm...an infirmity, seek a good physical therapist, or medical doctor. preferably someone who isn't old fashioned as they would not understand us hammockers. there are many medical situations that aren't deal to sleep in a hammock, I do not believe scoliosis should be one on its own, but with the other.... changes that can occur from it....
    I will leave it at that.
    yes, I work in a rehabilitation hospital providing therapy...so the info is good.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floridahanger View Post
    Not sure why your pointing this out since I didn't say anything about 'flat' or even flatlike.

    I did mention, however, that lying in the hammock that gives the "banana look" is also giving the body a curve in the hammock, eluding that the "pronounced" curve may not be the best for the body and for comfort.

    Some like a very hard surface, floor or board like, others a very soft surface and everything in between.

    I did mention that the diaganal lay in a hammock may be the best use of the hammock for comfort.

    Of course, not for all. My wife loves to rest but cannot sleep in a gathered end due to her leg and knee discomfort. I think a bridge may be in her future.
    For your Wife, I purchased a thermarest camping pillow that I take with me due to bad knees and I sleep with it under my knees and it helps greatly. Just a thought...
    http://www.amazon.com/Thermarest-Com...camping+pillow
    "I love not man the less, but Nature more."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountnman View Post
    For your Wife, I purchased a thermarest camping pillow that I take with me due to bad knees and I sleep with it under my knees and it helps greatly. Just a thought...
    http://www.amazon.com/Thermarest-Com...camping+pillow
    Thanks, Mountnman, I'll give that a shot. Anything to get her a better time in the hammock.
    Enjoy and have fun with your family, before they have fun without you

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