Camping is a great family activity that can be a lot of fun. You don’t want to let that fun be ruined by back pain. Here are some tips on how to avoid back pain during camping activities so that you can enjoy your trip without interruption.
Bring lots of water.
When you’re camping, you will usually spend a lot of time out in the sun, which can dehydrate you. Dehydration can cause stiffened tissues in the back, as the blood isn’t circulating properly. This is why it is important to drink as much water as possible. It’s a good idea to bring your own water; you don’t want to take the chance that a water source might be contaminated.
Take care when lifting or bending.
You may need to do some lifting and bending to get your campsite set up. If you already suffer from back pain, try to avoid bending as much as you can. If possible, push the tent pegs into the ground with your legs and feet rather than bending over to hammer them in. If you can, get down on your hands and knees rather than bending.
Also make sure that you’re using the proper lifting techniques when picking up heavy camping equipment or firewood. Keep your back straight, and bend at the knees, rather than the waist, to pick up an item. Hold the item close to your body to decrease the strain on your lower back. Use your leg muscles to do the heavy lifting work, not your back muscles. If you need to turn while holding the object, turn your whole body, rather than pivoting at the waist. Don’t try to carry too much at one time. It’s better to make extra trips to the car than to put the extra strain on your back.
Take breaks and stretch if you feel you are stressing your back too much. You don’t want to overdo it and spend the rest of your trip in pain.
Consider bringing an air mattress.
If you’re not used to sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, you may wake up feeling a little stiff in the morning. The hard ground doesn’t provide much support for your back. You can find self-inflating air mattresses at camping supply stores, so there’s no need to carry an air pump with you. While it may not be as good as your mattress at home, it’s a great improvement on sleeping on the ground and will provide much more support for your back.
If you’re hiking, make sure you have the right equipment.
Wear shoes with good shock absorbers to minimize the strain on your lower back. A long walk on uneven terrain can be especially unkind to the back. If you carry a backpack when hiking, make sure you carry it correctly. Wear both straps so that the weight is distributed evenly, and tighten the straps so you aren’t carrying the bag too low. Most hiking backpacks have a strap that fastens across the chest to help keep the bag close to the body. Make sure you are only packing the essentials, and pack the heaviest items so they are close to the body.
Keep these tips in mind, and have a safe and fun camping trip!