How to Prevent and Recover from Back Pain after a Long Day of Touring and Hiking
By Savanna Stone //
Going on a trip or simply hiking near your home can cause a lot of unwanted back pain. Have you ever wondered if there are steps you can take to avoid the pain so that you can enjoy doing the things you love? Well, there are actually a lot of things you can do to avoid back pain from touring and hiking. Keep reading to find out.
Bring gear that fits. A lot of travel is about preparation. Bring hiking gear or a backpack for touring that fits well and doesn’t hurt you. This includes packing clothes and shoes that are comfortable. Bring clothes and shoes that you have worn before so that you know they won’t give you blisters or bother you as you walk far distances.
Don’t forget nutrition and hydration. Your body needs energy and your muscles need nutrients when you exert a lot of strength. Stay hydrated during your trip and eat frequent small meals throughout your day. This will give you the constant burst of energy throughout your day so that winding down after your tour or hike will be easier. Jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, and crackers are all easy to bring with you on a hike or tour and can give you just the right energy you need to keep going.
Listen to your body. You might need to take breaks from standing or even sitting throughout your day. If you feel fatigued, stop, sit down, and hydrate. If you are sore from sitting on a long bus ride, get up whenever you can and stretch. When your body has had too much, it will tell you. Listen.
Slow and steady wins the race. Start your day off slowly like you’re warming up for a run. If you know you will be on your feet all day, it is a good idea to stretch before you leave. Or even consider rolling out on the Chirp Wheel+ to start your day. If you experience back pain from hiking often, loosening your muscles on the Chirp Wheel+ before you head out for the day might be just what your body has been missing. You will also need to slow down at the end of the day as a cool down from your “workout.” Stretching and rolling out on the Chirp Wheel+ one more time before bed will also help you heal faster and will prepare you for another day of touring and hiking.
Prepare your body before your trip. Before you even leave on your trip, strengthen your muscles. Having a strong core will limit the amount of back pain you have from your trip. Whether you spend a few minutes a day planking before your trip or doing pushups and situps, strengthening your core will only help reduce the amount of back pain you experience while hiking or touring. Remember that your core muscles aren’t just your abdominal muscles. Your core muscles consist of the trapezius muscle (which is what connects your spine to your shoulder blades), your glutes (I think we all know what those are), your hip adductors (which attach to the inside of your pelvis), your quadratus lumborum (a muscle in your lower back), and your spinal erectors (which run up your spine from your butt to your head). Exercises such as the bridge, bird dogs, or planks can help strengthen your core.
Practice good posture. Even during a hike or while you’re sitting to take a break, make sure you have good posture. Poor posture aggravates back pain and makes it worse. As you practice good posture, you will strengthen your core and use the right muscles to prevent back pain.
Use trekking poles or a big stick. Using a walking stick might sound like something for old people, but if it helps reduce your back pain then so what? You can either invest in a trekking pole or grab a big stick when you’re on the trail and use it to help you walk. This will relieve pressure off your joints and make you less prone to back pain from hiking.
Bonus: How to Pack Your Chirp Wheel+ for Travel
You can place any size Chirp Wheel+ in your luggage and strategically put clothes in the middle of the wheel and around the wheel. The Chirp Wheel+ hardly takes up any space and is very lightweight. Chirp also has a Chirp Wheel Case that perfectly fits the 3-Wheel Pack, so you can take them with you wherever you go.
Burley, A. (n.d.). Back pain while hiking? Here are 6 Preventative Steps to reduce your pain. Retrieved from https://www.explore-mag.com/Back-pain-while-hiking-Here-are-6-Preventative-Steps-to-reduce-your-pain
Knapp, K. (2019). How to Recover from a Hike. Retrieved from https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/how-to-recover-from-a-hike.