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Topic - Climbing with disability - what's my upper limit?

OneLifeOneHeart - on 11 Nov 2012
I started hillwalking after recognizing it is good for my health, scrambling after seeing it as an advanced form of it, and then rock climbing after my friend - a young instructor - brought me to a few crags, with whom I have mostly done top-roping, but since a few weeks I also started bouldering unsupervised in the gyms. I never climb higher than 3-4 meters above the ground.

I am quite overweight and have some upper spine nerve pain caused by an injury I had about 6-7 years ago. It is still not known what exact injury I got, and even though the pain symptoms are of a slipped disc, the scans, MRI etc show absolutely nothing, i.e. I am "officially" healthy.
I have already searched all sorts of advice from all sorts of healthcare professionals and pseudo-doctors but the only thing I can do is ignore the pain and try to live my life to the fullest and do everything to stay healthy.

What clearly hurts my spine is anytime my limbs impact with something, including the ground (running, jumping, etc.). Push ups and hanging also stress the specific upper area of the spine (torso, behind chest).

Basically, I discovered climbing as an extension of activities that can help me stay in shape. But I am definitely not interested in the risky aspects and completely rule out going close to overhangs.

I get quite depressed when seeing others in the gym, including children, do really cool stuff, but I realize that I have to stay within my limits and that I chose this sport as a means to stay healthy - not for the adrenaline, not at all!

In spite of all that, I want to enjoy it to the best of my abilities and wondered whether there might be other people who have engaged in climbing despite having some physical impairment, who know exactly what movements are okay to do and what to avoid. Or have any general experiences to share.

At the moment, unless my friend/instructor is there, I never dare going above 4 meters unroped, and I seem to be more comfortable with routes where I don't have to stretch my arms too much.

How much can I learn?How far will I be able to go if I keep training?

Also, do you have any suggestions of which might be good indoor bouldering walls in/around London that have many easier routes?
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