Camping: How to Protect your Back
There are lots of great camping sites in the UK and Europe, and can be great fun for all the family even if the weather isn’t exactly ideal! Generally speaking, sleeping on harder surfaces away from the comfort of your own bed can cause problems for your back (I’ve never heard anyone say, “that camping trip did wonders for my back!”) But this shouldn’t deter you from camping and with that in mind, we’ve gathered some quick tips to make sure you enjoy your camping experience!
It’s important to take care on your journey. If you’re travelling by car make sure you take regular breaks (at least every two hours). Alternatively, if your travelling by bus or train make sure you are not sat in a hunched or cramped position.
If you can grab a break, make sure you do some stretching to ensure any tension does not build up. Additionally, once you arrive at your destination do not rush to put up your tent. Take your time and make sure you stretch upon arrival. This will help relive any stress and tension built up on your long journey.
Keep your back protected
It’s worth noting that research released earlier this year by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and Sealy Posturepedic found that 43% of those who have suffered back pain in the past or continue to do so now cited that their bed/mattress/pillow is/was a major factor in triggering that pain. Given that those surveyed were sleeping on a normal mattress, extra precautions are certainly required when sleeping on the hard ground under canvas!
Sleep on a quality approved camping mat, these can be sourced from your local camping equipment provider or outdoor shop. Try a few out and find one that is both comfortable and supports your back, the shop assistants will be more than happy to help. Make sure you take a pillow, blow up pillows are easily transportable but we think a better solution is to take your favourite pillow from home, one you know supports your head correctly and feels comfortable.
Make sure you prep your sleeping area, this should be one of the first things you do. Remove any large objects such as stones and sticks that will dig into your spine. Additionally, you should try and sleep in a position where your spine is as straight as it can possibly be. This will help avoid any back and neck pain.
Lift/Carry with care
It’s also estimated that over 60% of Britons believe that their back and neck main is caused by incorrect lifting and carrying. It’s important to take care particularly when loading and unloading your camping gear. Try to distribute the weight of the gear over two bags rather than one. By distributing the weight, the risk of injury is dramatically decreased.
On your travels
It’s important to keep hydrated particularly on a hot day when your out and about enjoying your day (find out if you are drinking enough here in one of our past posts). Keep a bottle of water in a rucksack if you have one. On the subject of rucksacks, make sure its as light as possible and only take what is essential to your travels and the load is distributed evenly. Before leaving make sure you’ve adjusted the straps in a position to ensure the load is spread evenly (read more about rucksacks on our previous post here). If you know your going to be on your feet all day make sure you put the sandals and flip flops to the side and select sturdy and comfortable footwear and make sure you choose comfortable and loose fitted clothing (guess what? we have a blog post on flip flops too! read more here).
Keep your back supported
Whether its packing or pitching your tent, keep neutral curves in your spine whilst at the same time keeping your core engaged.
Don’t forget to bend from your hips and knees whilst using your legs to do the lifting.
Only carry what’s essential to your trip. This will help prevent exhaustion and strain resulting from your activities.
So, take these tips on board and have a great camping trip! Of course if you are in doubt come and see us to get checked out either before or after your camping trip. Have a great time!
Torbay Chiropractic Clinic, 01803 329799