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snowsurfin951
2003-07-06, 22:47
I have been dealing with sciatica (pinching or inflamation of the sciatic nerve) for about 7 years now (I'm 26). It has not bothered me for quite a while up until now. I recently decided to branch out from expedition kayaking to hiking. I just bought a Kelty 4300 external frame pack and put about 20lbs in it. That brought the total to 25 for pack and weight. I went for a walk on a trail behind my house yesterday and today my back and left leg (symptom of the sciatica) are really bothering me. I haven't even really got into hiking and am already thinking I may have to give it up. I guess if I wish to persue hiking I am going to have to try to go lighter, possibly even lighter than some ultralight hikers. Maybe I will just have to carry a pocket knife and matches. I'll have to forage for grubs and plants for food.

Anyone else with back pain or sciatica hike with a medium weight pack?

Bill Phillips
2003-07-07, 16:11
Hi, Snowsurfin. You might consider Tai Chi Chuan. I was attracted to it when I was 19 with a degenerative spine/inflamed nerves in the neck area. I love it. I never looked back. I've been an instructor for many years. My spine is very stong and healthy. A fellow student who was strong, active, and very accomplished in other kung fu/martial arts had mild scoliosis which cleared up with advanced Tai Chi training. There are too many cases to relate.

Any decent Tai Chi Chuan regimen has a good chance of helping your sciatica and general health. If you are very fortunate you may find an instructor with an unbroken lineage of Tai Chi martial application. You can spot this person. They do not need another martial art to "round out" the training. In addition to being tricky with avoidance, grappling and off-balanceing (standard), they will be FAST and hit FRIGHTENINGLY hard in an effortless sort of way.

You can also look for Ba Gua Chuan (also spelled Pa Gua Chuan). It is of the same root as Tai Chi Chuan. Their potential (but not guaranteed) health benefits cannot be overstated.

I can really sypathize with BAD back pain. Hope this helps.

jumpngeorge
2003-07-07, 19:54
Have you seen a doctor? I went to a physical therapist (you will probably need a referral from a doctor). To solve the problem you have to know the cause. For me it was stride irregularity caused my a knee injury. Most of the excercizes that helped were actually for the abs.

chief
2003-07-08, 03:16
for what it's worth, i had the same symptoms as you, at about age 30 (at times really crippling). had all kinds of docs check me out. diagnosis varied from stress to pinched nerve. some wanted to cut on me, i resisted! a 40 something assistant of mine told me i'd grow out of it and he was more correct than any of those witch docs. at about 35, all pain was gone without the slightest lifestyle change.

jeez, after reading some of the other replys, i see the witch docs have come out of the woodwork.

snowsurfin951
2003-07-11, 22:21
I think I will pass on the Tai Chi. I'm glad it works for though Bill. I am doing much better. It seems that the sudden change to moving with a lot of weight on my back caused a pretty bad episode. It went away about a day and a half after I posted this and was able to hike tuesday through today (friday). I did a small section of the AT in western MD this afternoon. It was only about an hours worth though. I did most of my hiking through the green ridge state forest in western maryland. I had a blast I can't wait to get out and do the Batona trail here in Jersey next month. It's going to be close to 40 miles in 3 days. I think after this week my back should be up to it. I have no pain today. Thanks for the replies.

---I did go and see a my Doc years ago when it started. He did an MRI and found the buldge. Another doc wanted to cut me --- I said no and haven't looked back. The pain had not surfaced again until I started packing.