After hurting my back in February of 2016 (see my new member introduction post), I finally felt good enough to go for a hiking trip.
We originally planned to hike the Adirondack peaks Colvin, Blake, Dial and Nippletop until I read a trip report about lots of bear activity in the campsites. So we went to the Dix Range instead. Gorgeous weather, beautiful views, great hiking, and most importantly the company of fun trip partners. And although my back still isn't 100%, it didn't cause any serious problems. I did feel the lack of conditioning due to not being able to do my previous level of exercise, but I'm looking forward to more.
I had a herniated disc but was able to avoid surgery or shots. It took a lot of patience with quite a bit of pain until someone suggested I read a book by Robin McKenzie about exercises known as the McKenzie Method for alleviating back pain. At first I was dubious that the simple exercises would reaaly help but they did and after a short while I was pain free and still am after 3 years. Yes, back pain can be debilitating so I 've learned that the older I get the wiser I have to be in how I do things. I'm 71 and looking forward to doing some backpacking again next summer.
Very glad to hear that you were able to treat your back without surgery. And I hope to still be taking trips when I am your age.
It's interesting that you mention the McKenzie method. That's what the Physical Therapist prescribed for me. I'm still not completely convinced of how much my recovery is a result of the McKenzie exercises, and how much is just from time, but the exercises do seem to help some.
It's frustrating to me that I was at a high level of fitness (for me) before I hurt my back, and that it's taking so long to become symptom free. I've been fortunate to never have experienced an injury that took very long to heal.
Lonerock, I hope you do return to backpacking next summer if not sooner. You can see links to a couple of my recent trips for inspiration in the trip report forum.
Bob Chiang I've hiked and backpacked most of my life and been in remote areas while working as a biologist under contract with the BLM and forest service. I've hiked and backpacked in many beautiful places from southern Mexico to the Canadian Rockies. The thought of not continuing to get out in nature is incomprehensible. It's a great motivator for keeping myself in good shape. At this point in my life I don't have any chronic medical problems and don't take any medications. The sound you hear is me knocking on wood.
Loc: Western Pa, USA
I hear ya. Two years ago I did the S.Kaibab/Bright Angel trail. Back was okay, but the knees! I didn't expect steps in the Grand Canyon (who was the fool who thought that up?).
On the way down I stumbled over a piece of rebar sticking too far out of one of the logs, went down on the soft part of the knee. Wobbly the rest of the way down.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intent of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!
Here to report on a slight set back and quick recovery.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a trip to the Adirondacks trip 'report' here and managed to hurt my back again. Not from the hiking, but I think from loading heavy stuff into the van in an awkward position. The injury showed up the next day.
I started the McKenzie stretches immediately, and am pretty much back to full function less than two weeks after getting hurt.
After talking with other oldies about their back issues, a common suggestion is to continue the exercises even after recovery. I thought that after I recovered, I wouldn't need to do the exercises any more. Time to accept that this old bod can't do some things it used to, and that it requires preventive maintenance ; )
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I had a minor but painful back injury in my 40s and a severe knee injury in my mid-50s. I am now 81 and still have to do the exercises for both. It's a life-long PT program! Let it go and you risk re-injuring the affected part! The previously injured part will always need the support of your muscles.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey