Back pain is a haunting issue so that so many people face. It is something that Tiffany has to deal with on a regular basis. Tiffany has scoliosis, a twisted spine, and had corrective surgery for it in 2008. She went from one extreme to another physically and we want to tell you about it in this article. We want to share the natural back pain relief remedy that she stumbled across: hiking with poles.
Background info on My Wife
Scoliosis is a fancy word for a crooked spine. Tiffany’s spine is shaped in an S. She wore a brace from 12-16years old, which was a bit of a nightmare. Talk about character building – I mean teenage life is crazy enough before you through in 24/7 back pain and an awkward and large back brace. But alas, she made it through it.
At 18 she had surgery. Two rods and a ton of screws were placed in her back to help straighten her spine. She is basically my own personal wolverine.
Unfortunately she slipped into a bit of depression after surgery. For around 5-6 years Tiff just lost her active side. Whether from post surgical depression, not healing well, fear of pain, or lack of physiotherapy, Tiffany’s body slipped into a very painful and unhealthy state.
To give an example, we went swimming once hoping to get her back on the path to health. A light swim ended up with Tiffany in the emergency room, out of work for two weeks and feeling completely defeated. This only worsened the fear and anxiety she had around “activeness.”
Walking helped the back pain
Now it seems silly to say that the thing that helped was walking, but it was. After we got married I realized just how intensely my wife was living in fear of exercises, getting hurt or being active. Now me being a natural born out doors man offered to help.
She said yes.
We started out so slow. Twenty minute walks here and there. We over did it sometimes and she would be in bed for a few days. Walks often ended in tears and disheartened feelings. But with patience, perseverance and a deep desire to be physically healthy and mentally free, we got there. Tiffany began to go for longer walks. Instead of 20 minutes we would be out there for 40. It slowly increased, and then increased some more.
Hills came, now those were brutal on her lower back. The pain was trying to resurface. But we fought through the mental pain together and she began to overcome her fear and anxiety.
Back pain is as debilitating mentally as it is suffocating physically.
But that did not stop her.
Walking turned to hiking
One day the walk got longer, the hill got steeper, and I saw a huge smile on her face. Suddenly, she was going for an hour or more. She was asking to go out and excited to get to the top of a hill.
There is something so amazing about looking back on the process. Fighting through it all and seeing the results: pain free walking. This is where the walks turned to hikes. And suddenly, the poles came into play.
The hiking poles finished the job on taking away the anxiety and fear. Tiffany all of a sudden stepped with confidence; she was no longer afraid of falling and being unable to get up. It completely transformed my wife. She would take on hills, slippery slopes, and even a mountain.
The best back pain relief
For Tiffany’s back, the best relief was found in hiking (longer more intense walks often accompanied by hills and tougher terrain). When hiking with poles the body moves gracefully and steadily and is not strained. The hiking poles took pressure off her joints, provided her with steady steps, got her upper body moving and prevented her from tensing up. The simple movement of the arms was what she needed to help loosen up the back.
It is still shocking to us. But there is a reason we love hiking poles. They literally changed the game for us.
What life is like now
Last year we took on Mount July, here in British Columbia. It was surreal. My wife hiked an @ grade mountain. We reached the top. But the amazing part is that she did it all with no back pain. She was steady, confident and pain free. That is huge. It’s surreal.
Not only that, but she loved it. She found a joy she didn’t know she was capable of having. For any of you that live with chronic pain or know of someone that does, you understand that constant battle. It’s a battle of the mind, and the way the pain debilitates it. It is a battle of the body, and the way the pain affects every area of life.
Through walking, hiking and then adding hiking poles, my wife is walking on the side of freedom. My wife is living again.
Yesterday we did a 26km hike. While her legs currently feel like jelly, and she is incredibly sore, she is not having any back pain. Seriously, that is insane. Remember when we talked about her being in pain after 20 minutes? Well that season of life is long gone. We hiked 26km in 9 hours and she is doing great. And, if I may brag about her some more, she even had a light pack on her back.
Slowly but surely, she has come to a place of physical health. And, with it has been accompanied with the freedom it brings. When friends get together to toss a Frisbee, play some volleyball or go for a walk, SHE GETS TO COME. And, she joins in and has fun! When the sun is shining and it’s too beautiful to stay inside, Tiffany gets to go outside and enjoy it. My wife is alive again.
Can hiking relieve back pain?
I think we have made our stance on this pretty clear. It is with excitement that I get to say: absolutely. Hiking can help to relieve back pain. It takes patience, time, tears, starting slow and staying steady, but hiking can absolutely help reduce pain.
The difference it has made for us brings us so much passion for life. Standing beside her, on top of a mountain and looking over the world… well I never thought I would be able to do that with her. Thank God we are able to now.
It has been two years since we started our journey into hiking. I can not wait to see what we accomplish next.
How about you all? What holds you back, makes you excited or brings passion to your life? What barriers stand in between you and pursuing that health habit? My passion for overcoming those things is strong. I would love to chat, help or listen in any way needed.