If you have plans of packing up your tent, sleeping bag and a cooler to head out for a weekend of camping this summer, you shouldn't let your fear of this activity worsening your back pain intimidate you. While it's true that camping isn't necessarily the best activity for those with sore backs, you can prepare carefully and be smart on your camping trip to reduce the risk of your back pain worsening. If you find that you're more sore than usual when you get back home, schedule an adjustment with a health practitioner. In the meantime, use these strategies to avoid back pain.
Don't Skimp On Your Sleeping Setup
Lying in your sleeping bag directly on the floor of your tent will likely leave you in severe discomfort; this sleeping setup can even cause back pain among those who have healthy backs. Be prepared by packing the bed setup that you'll need to keep your back pain at bay. For some people, this could be an inflatable air mattress; for others, a section of foam or a cot works best. Try out a few methods at home in advance of your camping trip so you'll know which bedding setup best suits your body type and your specific type of back pain.
Support Yourself While Sitting
Folding camping chairs are fun to set up around the campfire, but they typically provide little in the way of support for your lower back. Your back can easily shift into an unnatural arch while you're in this type of chair and you could find that you're in a lot of pain when you go to stand up. If you have to use this type of chair, insert a rolled blanket behind you to help maintain your spine's curve. It's also a good idea to sit at a picnic table, as you can focus on maintaining a healthy, upright posture.
Swim When You Can
Taking a dip in the lake or river — or in the swimming pool if there's one at your campground — is an ideal way to alleviate back pain. Water's buoyant nature can help to elongate your spine to prevent the pinching of the spine that causes pain. If you're swimming in a natural body of water, swim out to the far edge of the roped-off swimming area and hang on the rope to let your lower body's weight pull downward to take pressure off your spine. This simple activity, practiced a few times throughout the weekend, can keep your pain at bay.
For more tips on keeping back pain under control, contact a clinic like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates.