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Lestat72


Mar 28, 2012, 10:03 AM
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new, weighted, and injured ....
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Ok, so I am a former medic form the military. I broke my back and since then went from 190 lbs to 245 lbs. I am slowly starting to get my back into shape to the point that I can walk some decent distances. I want to do bouldering and rock climbing to build my strength and get back into good shape again, but my neurologist says no, if I fall I am done for. Here's the conflict ... If if fall out of bed I could be done for, if I fall down some stairs I could be done for, if I or anyone else in the world does something and takes a good fall, they would be done for, so, what I am wondering is, how hard of the back is bouldering and climbing, and also, if a person should lose thier feet or hands, what is the likelyhood of a actual fall, if they are on a rope? I am tring to justify the need and use of climbing so that I can start. The way my neurologist puts it, they want me to excercise, but don't want me to do anything because I might get hurt and do my back in for good.


gmggg


Mar 28, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Lestat72 wrote:
Ok, so I am a former medic form the military. I broke my back and since then went from 190 lbs to 245 lbs. I am slowly starting to get my back into shape to the point that I can walk some decent distances. I want to do bouldering and rock climbing to build my strength and get back into good shape again, but my neurologist says no, if I fall I am done for. Here's the conflict ... If if fall out of bed I could be done for, if I fall down some stairs I could be done for, if I or anyone else in the world does something and takes a good fall, they would be done for, so, what I am wondering is, how hard of the back is bouldering and climbing, and also, if a person should lose thier feet or hands, what is the likelyhood of a actual fall, if they are on a rope? I am tring to justify the need and use of climbing so that I can start. The way my neurologist puts it, they want me to excercise, but don't want me to do anything because I might get hurt and do my back in for good.

Bouldering might not be worth the risk for you but roped climbing (especially top roping) is well within your grasp.

Climbing on overhanging and higher level routes do put some stress on muscles throughout the upper and lower back so there is some risk if you really push it; but there shouldn't be any reason that you can't climb at a comfortable level for your abilities.

As for falling while roped up, you might want to investigate chest harnesses and/or full body harnesses and show the options to your neurologist or PT and discuss the amount of and directions of forces you can expect in a top rope fall. You will fall while climbing but the short and relatively low intensity fall on top rope might be ok for you - you'd have to find that out from people who know.

I've climbed with a few vets with various missing limbs and/or nerve damage and unless there is something mechanically preventing you from climbing you should be able to keep yourself safe enough to enjoy yourself.

Oh, and finding a partner who knows you and your limits is pretty essential. Depending on your personality you might like someone who pushes you out of your comfort zone but knows when enough is enough or you might prefer someone a little more submissive so that you can feel in control.

Good luck!


(This post was edited by gmggg on Mar 28, 2012, 11:07 AM)


bill413


Mar 28, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Lestat72 wrote:
Ok, so I am a former medic form the military. I broke my back and since then went from 190 lbs to 245 lbs. I am slowly starting to get my back into shape to the point that I can walk some decent distances. I want to do bouldering and rock climbing to build my strength and get back into good shape again, but my neurologist says no, if I fall I am done for. Here's the conflict ... If if fall out of bed I could be done for, if I fall down some stairs I could be done for, if I or anyone else in the world does something and takes a good fall, they would be done for, so, what I am wondering is, how hard of the back is bouldering and climbing, and also, if a person should lose thier feet or hands, what is the likelyhood of a actual fall, if they are on a rope? I am tring to justify the need and use of climbing so that I can start. The way my neurologist puts it, they want me to excercise, but don't want me to do anything because I might get hurt and do my back in for good.

I hate to discourage (almost) anybody from climbing. But...

You climb with the expectation that you will fall. We use systems that will mitigate the consequences of that, but falling is an expected part of the sport. It's part of the learning process.

In roped climbing, the belayer/rope/harness system will catch you. In bouldering, you will land on your back.

Losing control of a hold with your hands or your feet can result in a fall; it can result in a wrenching grab to stay on; or it can be a on-event. All three scenarios happen.

If there are people climbing in your area, go watch them (with the firm intention to not climb, just watch). See the types of falls they take.

It rots to have to curtail activities.


Lestat72


Mar 28, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Re: [gmggg] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Thanks for the info., it will be very helpfull. I figured falls were probably expected in some aspects, and having done various extreme sports before, I am not new to taking a fall. I am just trying to find out all that I can before I get started. We have a couple of gyms in the area, and also two colleges have a simple wall (atleast simple looking). I am simply wanting to get into something that looks fun and looks like a good workout. Again, thank you.


flesh


Mar 28, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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If you do it at all, start with very easy top roping. I imagine losing 50 lbs couldn't hurt either.


redlude97


Mar 28, 2012, 11:51 AM
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Re: [flesh] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Even some toproping falls can tweak a healthy back. I wouldn't risk it if your doctor says it isn't ok


ceebo


Mar 28, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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It seems like a bit of a mine field. Any style of climbing will run you into moves that will put your back under allot of stress. their is allot of trunk twisting and bending under force in climbing. We mostly define easy as how it feels to the fingers. Most of the other bigger body parts like legs etc under go a constant level of stress no matter what the finger dfficulty.

If you do go for it top roping will have the least fall impact. As for angle of wall, slab and vert are easier but you will always come back into the wall after a fall. If you fall in the wrong way, even on a tight top rope you could spin out and come in onto your back.

Slight over hanging rock would avoid that above problem but it will require more core to climb and that i assume = more stress on back.

If the injury is lower back then a standard harness may put to much force on that area. However a body harness (assuming lower back injury) would have all your weight below the harness hanging free if feet are not able to be on the wall. All that weight below the injury would be pulling down on it. That may count for something.


onceahardman


Mar 28, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Thank you for your service.

There are, of course, many kinds of back injury. If you have instability, or stenosis, or anything more than very minor hardware implementation, I'd follow the doc's advice.

I think bouldering is probably the most danger to you. Every fall is a groundfall.

As said earlier, some easy topropes might help you out, at least psychologically. Easy peak bagging can get you into some airy spots, and can also be pretty satisfying. Bst of luck to you. Ultimately, it's your body, and your decision.


lena_chita
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Mar 28, 2012, 4:06 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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In general, listening to your doctor is a good idea... but sometimes doctor's don't know what they are talking about, and err on the side of caution for various reasons. If the doctor doesn't know anything about rock climbing, he might have a wrong idea of what climbing you are thinking of, and his advice might stem from that.

So I would say, look for second opinion. Shop around for a doctor who is specializing in sport medicine and rehab, and if you are lucky, find a doctor who is also a climber, or at least a serious current/former athlete. Not that far-fetched, btw, I went to see a random orthopedic surgeon (well, not random, he came with good recommendation), but I was just looking for a good doctor, and I ran into a climber in a bargain.

And in the meantime, it definitely would not hurt to visit a local climbing gym just to observe. You will get some sense of what kind of falling happens with bouldering and toproping.

And of course, while you are doing all that, you can work with what you got, in terms of slowly ramping up your walking routine, and whatever else your PT might be suggesting, to hopefully get you on the path towards weight loss.


gunkiemike


Mar 28, 2012, 4:09 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
I think bouldering is probably the most danger to you. Every fall is a groundfall.

^ this


Rockalanche


Mar 28, 2012, 5:30 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Looking into some sort of full body harness would be a good idea but its still risky. Sometimes when I fall on a top rope my back can get pretty beat up. Is your broken back condition permanent or will it heal in time? If it will heal in time then wait for it to heal.


sp115


Mar 28, 2012, 8:52 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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Get a second opinion and if both doctors agree that a hard fall might be catastrophic then take up swimming. If they don't agree then you have a tough decision.

And I will also add this completely anecdotal story: I broke my back 26 years ago in a waterskiing tumble. I hobbled around for about a month before I saw a doctor. He told me it was bad and that I was done with all contact sports. Absolutely done. I lasted about a year before I started going mental. I gained a ton of weight and generally felt like shit even though my back felt fine. Eventually I couldn't deal with it so I started playing hockey again and have been ever since, along with rock climbing and, as of 3 years ago, jiu jitsu.

So you need to be careful and listen to what your doctor(s) are saying but also become as informed as you can before you decide you're done being active in a way you enjoy. Good luck.


granite_grrl


Mar 29, 2012, 4:43 AM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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I feel we need to get more information from the OP about his back injury. As Lena said, there are a lot of people that don't understand climbing (I've gotten some screwy advice from a lot of health care workers, most of them recomending me not to continue climbing).

Also a "broken back" can mean a lot of things. I know of three people who have broken their backs (myself included) and we're all back to climbing (though I do visit my chiropractor semi regularly).

That being said, all three of us fractured our backs from climbing. Person 1 - bouldering fall, Person 2 - dropped in the gym, myself - didn't stick clip the first bolt of a sport climb and fell weird to the ground. Climbing involves falling and you fall enough times something could happen. If the OP is as delicate as he says he is (if he falls out of bed, he's done?) then this probably isn't the sport for him.


Toast_in_the_Machine


Mar 31, 2012, 10:04 AM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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I have seen a child of 7 with a neck brace (I was told birth defect on the spine) on who used auto belay devices in the gym.

Then again, if the kid fell from a hold, they were so light, they almost went up.


Partner j_ung


Mar 31, 2012, 12:05 PM
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Re: [Lestat72] new, weighted, and injured .... [In reply to]
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I dunno how bad your break was, but I had an exceptionally bad herniated disc about 2.5 years ago, which required surgery. I still climb, including sport and trad leading, and although I'm a little more careful than I was, I've taken plenty of falls since.

But I won't boulder. No sir. F that. Every time you fall you, hit the ground. I can't even jump off things.


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