Taking a hike can be one of the most relaxing adventures one can experience. You are finally away from the loud sounds and polluted air that the big city brings. Instead, you are welcomed by whispering winds and majestic wildlife on your journey through the best nature has to offer. Hikes provide you with a peace of mind that is difficult to come by in the maze that is everyday life. That is, until you are reminded of your chronic back pain. This can be the worst feeling, but it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying one of your favorite pastimes.
Lighten Your Load
Carrying a backpack is definitely necessary for a hike, but all of its contents may not be. Before you consider the load, make sure the backpack itself is one that supports your spine and does not force you to slouch over or fall backward. When it comes to the contents of your backpack, you need to pack as light as possible; excess weight can add unnecessary pressure on your spine.
It is likely that you haven’t gutted your hiking bag in a while. Take the time to flip it over and pour out all of its contents. Any outdated or unusable items need to be discarded (i.e. broken flasks, lamps, flashlights, old snacks etc.) Also, anything that you pick up along the way needs to be left at home before your next hike.
Your muscles naturally adjust to your repeated body movements. If you sit at a desk or work station daily, your muscle memory is catered to that activity. When you decide to get up and go for a hike, your muscles are experiencing a new motion that they may react to differently. Take the time to stretch before you embark on your hike to release any tension in your muscles.
Have your hiking partner help you stretch your back to relax the muscles surrounding your spine to help prevent injury. You should even stretch during and after your hike to fully relax your body and avoid delayed pain.
Check Your Posture
Bad posture in any setting can aggravate your spine. This is even more evident when you are expected to be in that position for an extended period of time as you hike through a trail. You may naturally have decent posture, but bag weight, additional gear, and footwear can change all of that.
Get fully dressed and analyze your posture in the mirror. Your hips should be aligned with your shoulders and your chin shouldn’t be pushed forward for balance. If you find any errors in posture, fix it immediately and have your hiking partner(s) monitor your posture throughout the hike and point out when it needs to be adjusted.
Don’t allow chronic back to stop you from doing what you love. There are minimally invasive spine treatment options at your disposal to help you continue your active lifestyle. An experienced spine expert at Garden State Spine Control can meet with you to discuss your treatment options for your specific spine ailments. Request an appointment at one of our multiple New Jersey offices today to have your chronic back pain assessed.