Do Hammocks Hurt or Help Your Back? (Solved)
Keeping all factors constant, a hammock helps with the health of your back. This is because a hammock may help to align the spine. Health practitioners say that the continuous movement on the mattress causes misalignment of the spine hence back pains. But a hammock prevents turning and moving, allowing you to sleep in one position. Doing so aligns the spine and back muscles.
On the other hand, you can experience some back pains if you do not suspend the hammock well. Or when you use the wrong hammock fabric and size. These three are the only reasons you can have back pains on the hammock. I am going to discuss in detail these reasons and their solutions.
Reasons you can have Back Problems on a Hammock
- Wrong suspension angle
Experts say the best angle to hang a hammock is at 30 degrees with the ground. And the lowest point of the hammock must be 18 inches off the ground. Any angle bigger than that will make the hammock too tight. A very tight hammock will add pressure on your back making the muscles and the spine misalign. A too-tight hammock has high fabric walls that squeeze your shoulders.
Any suspension angle less than 30 degrees makes the hammock sag in the middle and too low near the ground. Such a hammock is very uncomfortable and if you lay in it you will be U-shaped. This shape misaligns your spine and back muscles suffers from fatigue.
Ensure your hammock is at 30 degrees and a little bit curved, then your back will be safe the whole time.
- Wrong size of the hammock
Specialists say the length of the hammock should be three feet longer than your body height. When a tall person sleeps in a small hammock he will be hanging outside and his back is flat on the hammock. The flat hammock exerts a lot of pressure on the back muscles and misaligns the spine.
When a short person sleeps in a long hammock he will be covered by tall fabric walls. Such a hammock does not give your shoulders enough space, making the spine bend. This position will make you have back pains when you wake up.
A hammock width also can affect your back depending on your body size. If you have a huge body, use a wide hammock or a double hammock. This hammock will hold your body well and your back muscles will not strain. But if you have a slim body, then use a single hammock or a double hammock that has a spreader bar.
- Wrong hammock fabrics
Hammock manufacturers make two types of fabrics whereby each type has its own use. There are soft hammock fabrics and hard hammock fabrics. Sleep in the soft hammock fabrics because it allows your back muscles to relax and the spine to lay on a soft surface. But the hard hammock fabrics are for storing camping equipment and tools.
When you sleep in a hard hammock fabric, your back muscles will strain to relax and the spine will suffer from fatigue. Use the correct hammock fabric and you will have a relaxed back.
Common Hammock Issues and their Solutions
- Cold buttock syndrome
This is a condition where your backside gets very cold. The muscles on your backside freeze and contract. Such contraction of muscles makes you have some sharp pains the next day. It is a bad condition that can make you unable to walk.
The only solution here is insulation. Insulate the hammock so that the heat under it does not get lost through convection. The cheapest way to insulate a hammock is by using a foam pad and a self-insulating pad. But you can opt for expensive means which are better like the hammock under-quilts and a hammock blanket.
- Shoulder squeeze
This is when the sides of a hammock wraps around you, pushing your shoulders together. The sides are too tight and exert pressure on your shoulders. Such a problem makes you wake up with aching shoulders and sometimes numb back muscles.
Here the solution is to remove the “canoe effect” that develops when you tie the hammock too tight. Hang your hammock at 30 degrees to the ground and 18 inches off the ground. When the hammock straps are 30 degrees with the ground, then it means the hammock is loose enough. 18 inches off the ground is a good distance for you to easily get in and out of the hammock.
- Falling out phobia
Some people fear they will fall out of the hammock. This is a big problem for people who like turning while sleeping. This is the worst problem because it makes you more tired. Instead of sleeping and relaxing, you will have an on/off sleep which is tiresome.
Hang your hammock with a deep sag. A deep sag means you lower the center of gravity of the hammock. Be careful not to make your hammock too curved which is bad for your back and blood flow. A deep sag makes you feel secure in the hammock and you will not fall out even if you turn.
- Motion sickness
This is when someone feels sick when he rocks in a hammock. This is the same as seasickness. Sometimes a person ends up vomiting and having a fever.
Here the solution is to side-tie your hammock so that it does not sway. But this is an in-born medical issue that cannot be treated. The best thing to do is to avoid the hammock. Or else it can develop into a worse condition.
This is when someone feels trapped inside a hammock. You feel like a hammock is a cell with high walls that you cannot get out of. It is a bad condition that can lead to a heart attack.
Such a condition develops when you have a small bug netting. Hence the solution is to find a huge bug net. You can also avoid high hammock walls that can make you feel being pushed and choked. This one also is a medical condition whose solution sometimes is to avoid hammocks.
When all other factors remain constant, lying in a hammock helps your back. It relaxes your back muscles and aligns the spine bones. This is possible because a hammock does not allow you to move or turn all the time. For a good back, have a good suspension angle/height, correct hammock size, and appropriate hammock fabric.