Mar 6, 2009 at 4:09 pm #1234594
A confession: I suspect that I might have sensitive collar bones. Towards the end of a long day of hiking with a pack over 12 lbs. or so, I typically get tingling pangs where the straps cross my collar bones. While transferring weight to my hips helps, it does not entirely get rid of the problem. Once the pack is off for the evening, the pangs go away, and the problem doesn't seem to be anything more serious than some discomfort.
Other than transferring weight to the hips, are there any suggestions for how to deal with this issue? I've experimented with some different packs and fits, and still seem to get this problem. I am considering attaching some 1/8" close cell foam on the section of the straps that contact my collar bones. Is this a common issue? Should I just suck it up?
JamesMar 6, 2009 at 8:11 pm #1483473
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Does you pack have load lifters?Mar 7, 2009 at 9:29 am #1483538
Does your pack have a frame?
What kind of pack are you carrying?Mar 7, 2009 at 10:33 am #1483553
The issue has come up both with frameless packs like my golite pinnacle (which has load lifters that are not terribly effective), and non-UL frame packs such as a cross country from Mountainsmith with beefy load lifters that did work well. Seems like towards the end of the day, no matter how I distribute weight this acts up. And I think I've become pretty good at packing my pinnacle so that the weight transfers to my hips.
Perhaps I should improve my load lifter technique, or stay away from frameless packs altogether, but I really like my pinnacle. Maybe experiment with placing straps farther out on my shoulders?
JamesMar 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm #1483591
You might already do this, but I'll say it for the awareness of others, too. Putting on a pack at the start of the day isn't like putting on a shirt. You can't really put on a pack and just forget about it 'til the hiking's done. (For that matter, I'm always unzipping my shirt, pushing up sleeves or pulling down…) In other words, I run across a lot of people who put on their packs and hike pretty much the whole day without making adjustments to the pack. You have to make adjustments, or your shoulders will hurt!
I probably get carried away (perhaps out of a degree of boredom) but I adjust strappage every fifteen minutes or so (whenever the urge strikes me). It's rarely very much; I might tighten my load lifters a half inch, and so loosen the bottom of the shoulder straps about that much. Maybe I'll really loosen the load lifters up and really crank down on the lower straps, getting more weight on my shoulders. Maybe I'll instead crank down the load lifters and really loosen the lower straps, getting most of the weight on my hips. But most of the adjustments are small and frequent. Making those adjustments constantly changes the pressure point on my shoulders from the harness. Instead of developing one consistent pressure point, I end up distributing shoulder harness pressure over a roughly 3" long swath that includes my collar bone.
Hope this helps.Mar 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm #1483593
Thanks for those great tips. I do try to adjust my pack through the day, but I can definitely be much more conscientious about it. Next time my pack is on my back, I will give this a shot!
JamesMar 7, 2009 at 9:35 pm #1483672
Do you think you could be pinching a nerve? Adjusting your sternum strap might help move to pressure to a better place.
I am wondering if you tend to move your arms less as the day goes on and the weight is resting on a nerve longer than it did earlier in the day and it doesn't like it. The tingle might not be right where the pressure is being applied. You maybe pressing on something further up on your shoulder or neck.
Or maybe I've watched too much scifi channel of late and have the Vulcan neck pinch on my mind.
Hope you sort it out,
DaveMar 7, 2009 at 11:35 pm #1483684
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Towards the end of a long day of hiking with a pack over 12 lbs. or so, I typically get
> tingling pangs where the straps cross my collar bones.
That sounds very much like a compressed nerve(s). The nerve(s) in question may be in your spine rather than your collar bones. Diagnosis of the cause at a distance is difficult!
You could consider doing lots of shoulder and neck exercises, altering the length of the torso of your packs, or even getting scan of your spine. The last is expensive and gets you into the clutches of the medicos.
CheersMar 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm #1483907
Thanks again for all the helpful comments. I walked with 20 lbs. in my pinnacle for an hour this evening and seemed to have good luck allowing my straps to sit farther out on my shoulders- I think that fiddling with the sternum strap and changing the point where the straps cross my shoulder blades should help me avoid this problem. I will have a chance to test this theory out in a few weeks in Utah…
JamesMar 9, 2009 at 9:02 am #1483965
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I don't have this problem, but have found not using a strenam strap makes everything work better. It is just a matter of getting everything else adjusted better. With the straps riding a little more to the outter side of my shoulders, it is much more comfortable. The should straps are just keep the load stable, with most of the weight on my hips.Mar 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm #1489590
An update to this thread: on a recent trip to Utah I was much more conscious about varying sternam strap and shoulder straps, giving my shoulders different "looks" through the day. Had none of the problems mentioned above, and suspect that I had been hiking with the sternam strap a little tight, and shoulders straps too close to the center of my body. Thanks all for your help.
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