Degenerative disk disorder with sciatica. Combine that with a lifted 4x4 truck...

dbhost

Member
I have 2 considerable health / mobility issues.

One as I mention in another thread, is obstructive sleep apnea, the second is degenerative disk disorder that has lead to sciatica. I can climb to a limited extent, but a gentler slope than a straight up ladder would be far easier for me to manage...

The good thing is the leg effected is the left side, I step onto the nerf bar on my truck with my right leg and step right in. However boosting myself up with the left is tough to do...

As I mentioned elsewhere, the truck is an '04 F150 4x4, with a 2.5" lift / level (Rancho Quicklift Loaded with Moog HD springs). Right now I have 35x12.50/17s on it, but want to step down to 33x12.50/17. The 35s rub a touch even with fender trimming...

So that leads me to, what best to use to get up and down in / out of the camper in the back of the truck?

I would love something like a step stool, but not sure about what are on the market that are durable enough, and aren't almost vertical.
 

VanWaLife

Member
A big consideration for hitch steps is whether you need to clear an open tailgate or not. I recently got this one:
which clears my toyota tailgate, but likely wouldn't work with a full size tailgate.
If you don't have a tailgate, there are a lot more options, including folding camper stairs
Also, as someone with back problems the Backjoy has made a big difference for me.
 

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NatersXJ6

Explorer
I’ve been there with the sciatica... not fun.

I’m guessing one of the keys is to be able to step up onto a stool large and stable enough that you can get completely on it and “reset” for the next leg position. Places like Home Depot have lots of aluminum stools / work platforms in the ladder area that are usually 12-18” high and sometimes as much as 4’ wide.

I would try something like that. You can also sit on them for putting in shoes and such.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Regarding sleep apnea,I lasted a week with the CPAP machine before getting one of the oral mouthpieces.
In my case it works wonders.
 

dbhost

Member
You guys clued me into a couple of good ideas, although not directly. I will be using the steps with the tailgate down, but here we go...

2 step hitch stairs.


To accomodate the tailgate down, I will need an 18" hitch extension.


To keep the whole thing from wobbling, I will need 2 hitch clamps.. Use wing nuts on the one going to the receiver, take it on / off when I make and break camp.


@NatersXJ6 you are exactly right. With the disk issues, I can't walk / climb normally. I go right leg up, bring myself up with left leg behind, stablize, and repeat...

Getting old is no fun.

@Regcabguy my experience is the opposite of yours. I felt like someone was trying to strangle me with one of the mouthpieces, I just couldn't do it. Mind you, I hate the CPAP mask, but the other option is far worse...
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
You guys clued me into a couple of good ideas, although not directly. I will be using the steps with the tailgate down, but here we go...

2 step hitch stairs.


To accomodate the tailgate down, I will need an 18" hitch extension.


To keep the whole thing from wobbling, I will need 2 hitch clamps.. Use wing nuts on the one going to the receiver, take it on / off when I make and break camp.


@NatersXJ6 you are exactly right. With the disk issues, I can't walk / climb normally. I go right leg up, bring myself up with left leg behind, stablize, and repeat...

Getting old is no fun.

@Regcabguy my experience is the opposite of yours. I felt like someone was trying to strangle me with one of the mouthpieces, I just couldn't do it. Mind you, I hate the CPAP mask, but the other option is far worse...
Sure thing. I know it bothered me at first. I'm thankful there's something that works for you. I'll wake myself up gasping when I take a nap in the afternoon if I don't use the mouthpiece. The CPAP machines are getting lighter and easier to clean.
 

99Discovery

Adventurer
My wife has DD and occasional sciatic pain. Luckily she is a on a stretch regimen prescribed by the doctor and taught by our work's Athletic Trainer. We were fortunately able to avoid surgery and her quality of life hasn't taken a significant hit IF she religiously does her stretches. If she misses and/or over exerts, then the pain comes, which I'm sure you are well aware of, and can potentially knock her on the couch for a day or so until it subsides. The CAT scan qualifies her for permanent disability, which does give us some perks such as life-time national park pass and the handicap parking spot (which we only use sparingly, when the pain (or threat of it) is present.

That's all beside the point, other than to illustrate that I feel your pain. A couple of things we've done to mitigate negative DD symptoms while on the trail:

1) She has a tennis ball in each vehicle. On on long trips she'll sit on the tennis ball on one butt cheek or the other, moving it around to keep the scatic nerve from flaring up. She got this trick from someone else struggling with back pain and she swears by it. Like daily morning and night stretches, the tennis ball in the car is a game changer. We went from worrying about 1-hour trips without frequent stretching stops (without the ball) to being able to drive 6 hours to Sedona and 4-wheel for a weekend and drive back without issue (with the tennis ball).

2) Getting in and out hasn't been an issue as long as the rock sliders have a kick-out or step. My rigs aren't overly lifted though. The Disco is on 32s and the LX470 is on 34s.

3) I've had to "suck it up" and trade in solid axles in favor of IFS, make sure I was in a "luxury" rig with a nice leather seat (seat quality matters), and also re-consider rocky trails. Trails such as the Rubicon aren't good for my wife. But she handles Moab well, as long as the steps are one-after-the-other. Probably the best rig for her was our L322 on air, but it was too hard to modify. As much as I'd love the new Bronco or a JL Rubicon, the new Defender is probably best for her back, with the Land Cruiser 200 series a close 2nd. They are just well out of my price range right now, so the '03 LX470 will have to do. I did notice harshness removing the AHC and going with OME, but so far it hasn't been an issue for her back thanks to the nice front seats. We have a 2500HD and even though it's a chevy with IFS, it's too stiff to do any real off-road exploring without risking flaring up her back. I'm not sure how your F150 effects you, but if it does, you may want to consider stepping down to a mid-size (ranger, tacoma, etc) with it's softer suspension to see if it helps.

4) We had to reconsider some hikes. If there are a lot of "steps" or elevation changes, she'll have to stay back at the truck, which sucks. But it preserves her back for future journeys. However, we were able to make a 2 hour drive to Capital Reef National Park, then hike the 1/2 mile round trip look to Hickman Bridge to see my Grandpa's signature (carved during CCC days) and then drive home the same day. I was worried about her back, but using the methods above, she killed it. She had to pop a few IBProufens in advance, she says that helps if she is planning to walk a long time, but she does this sparingly.

5) If your only issue is stepping in an out, then I'd consider contacting Rockslide Engineering and see if they'd prototype their sliders for your F150. My dad has them on his JK, and they are a heavy duty slider with a toggle switch to turn on/off the retraction. If the retraction is on, when you open the door, another step retracts from inside the slider making it VERY easy to get in and out. My dad installed these because my mom was having knee trouble, and with 35x12.50s, that became an issue.

Just a few thoughts from one who understands your pain.
 

Dirt Rider

Active member
I went with a little giant ladder (Big wide steps) and a bunk ladder on the inside, have all the same issues, now the problem is the truck itself (6 inch lift), thinking grab handles.
 
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