By Elise Morgan
Those of us who love adventuring don’t ever want to stop, and we certainly aren’t going to let the years keep us from travelling. But as time marches on, many people find it more and more difficult to travel and venture outdoors.
One of the most common hurdles is a bad back. If your back pain is making you feel like your adventuring days are behind you, here are some tips to camp and travel with a bad back.
Pack smarter, not lighter.
It can be really tempting to pack fewer things to keep your backpack/luggage weight down. Lighter luggage, less back pain, right? Not exactly. You want to make sure that you are bringing enough supplies for your camping trip, especially ziploc bags of medication and ice for back swelling.
Stretch more than you think.
Stretch in the morning before you start any physical activity, then stretch after, then stretch again. Once you finish that, stretch some more. The benefits of proper stretching for lower back pain cannot be overstated. Keeping your muscles loose and releasing built up lactic acid will help you stay on your feet and out of trouble on hikes and camping excursions.
Bring the right sleeping supplies.
When I went camping at 18 it inevitably meant slumping against trees, sitting on logs by the campfire and sleeping on the cold hard ground.
Don’t do that. Come prepared with a camping mat, a sleeping bag, and a lumbar pillow for your back. Getting the proper sleep can do wonders for back pain, but sadly proper sleep is often one of the first things to go out the window when you’re out in the wilderness.
So, make sure you’re coming prepared and getting the best sleep you can be. That way you can crush your hike in the morning.
If you’re flying, speak up.
Air travel can be tough on the back, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t be afraid to let your airline know that you have back issues and need accommodations. Often times they have things like pillows and seat accommodations that can make a big difference in your travel, especially on longer flights.
Pack multiple types of medication.
Anyone going camping with back pain should come prepared with plenty of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Make sure that you have a good mix of your prescription painkillers (if you have them) and OTC drugs.
One neat trick for OTC relief is to take one Tylenol and one Ibuprofen every three hours. The different active ingredients will work in tandem to give you better overall relief. Tylenol (acetaminophen) can have negative side effects for individuals with higher blood pressure, so make sure you’ve spoken to your doctor about what types of medications are right for you.
Your back pain may have you down, but you’re definitely not out. Follow these useful travel tips and you can keep adventuring through the wilderness into your older years. Always remember, back pain is extremely common, extremely frustrating and extremely manageable. Lots of people deal with it, everyone hates it, and we can all get through it together.