Spring is upon us — which means the weather will be warming up (hopefully!), flowers are popping up, and the days will be getting longer. This is the perfect time to head into the great outdoors to enjoy a spot of camping.
However, before you pack your bags, take a moment to consider how camping might affect the health of your back. Although spending time outdoors is great for your health, it can take a toll on your body if you aren’t careful. In fact, we often see patients arriving at our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent, City Chiropractic, with a sore back after their most recent camping adventure.
In this post, our Stoke chiropractor shares some tips for saving your back while on a camping trip. Following these tips should help you avoid a trip to our clinic upon your return!
Test Your Gear Before Leaving Home
Before you head out the door, set up all of your essential camping equipment in your back garden. The most important items to check include:
- Tent and blowup mattress
Having a functional tent and blowup mattress is essential if you want to remain comfortable and dry. It ensures that you won’t be forced to sleep in an uncomfortable position or on a hard surface, which might result in a trip to our Stoke chiro when you return home.
- Camping lights
Having a reliable light source will reduce your risk of having a fall in the middle of the night and injuring yourself.
- Gas stove
Test that your stove works and is safe to use. Check the connections on the gas bottle to make sure they are in top condition.
- Navigation equipment
Having a high-quality map, GPS and/or compass will help you orientate yourself while in the countryside. This will reduce your risk of become lost and being forced to sleep rough.
Get A Good Pair Of Shoes
If you wear a pair of uncomfortable shoes when camping, it can cause pain and affect your gait, which may result in back pain. Having a pair of high-quality hiking boots will also make the experience of camping much more enjoyable. You will be able to walk long distances in comfort and your feet will have an additional layer of protection.
Take a Camping Chair
While the idea of sitting on a log around a campfire seems idyllic, it can be taxing on your lower back. A better option is to take a padded camping chair that provides adequate back support. This will help you avoid lower back strains that result in an unplanned visit to our chiropractor on your return.
Lift Heavy Objects Correctly
Going on a camping trip typically involves a lot of lifting. After all, tents, backpacks, coolers, portable coolers, fold out tables and many other need to be carried to the campsite. It’s important to lift these objects correctly, especially if they are heavy or awkward to carry. To lift heavy objects safely:
Stand close to the object you are going to lift with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Squat down, bending at the knees and hips only
- Maintain good posture, looking forward with your shoulders back and chest out
- Lift slowly by straightening your knees. Keep your back straight
- Hold the object close to your body as you carry it
- Avoid twisting your torso as you carry it
- If you need to change direction, use small steps until your hips are pointing in the right direction
- Set down the load slowly, again, only bending at the knees and hips
If the object is very heavy, like a fully loaded cooler, ask for help from another camper. We have an excellent video on our website which demonstrates good lifting and carrying techniques. Visit the Pain Prevention page on our website to watch it.
Remember To Think About Posture
Common camping activities like pitching a tent, collecting firewood, and moving equipment involve a lot of bending over. As you perform these activities, focus on keeping your core engaged so you maintain the neutral curves in your spine.
Camping has become a much more sophisticated activity in the past few decades. There are now hundreds of different gadgets, items of specialised clothing, and pieces of equipment which have been specifically designed for camping.
While some of these items do make the experience of camping much more enjoyable, others aren’t really necessary. Take stock of your camping gear and see if you can eliminate any non-essential items. This will help you avoid venturing into the countryside with too much weight in your backpack, leading to a sore back.
Wear A Well-Fitted Ergonomic Hiking Pack
If you will be walking for a long time, purchase a high-quality ergonomic hiking pack. Some of the features to look for include:
- Fully adjustable straps (so you can shift the weight of the backpack onto your hips)
- Wide padded straps for comfort
- Multiple compartments to prevent your load from shifting as you walk
- Waist belt for additional stability
- Internal frame to spread the load across your back
Using this kind of pack will lessen the load on your back, helping you to avoid muscle strains and other common back injuries.
Should you experience back pain as a result of your camping trip, our chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke are always here to help you. To book an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors call 01782 848 184.