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How to Prevent Back Pain While Hiking

If you’re someone who experiences back pain, it can be hard to feel motivated to take part in exercise and activity and the thought of putting on a heavy backpack or hiking 12 miles in a day can seem daunting. However, getting moving and out on the trails can often be great for your back. It can help increase muscular circulation, which helps improve soft tissue flexibility in the spine, as well as other large muscle groups.

If you’re hoping to walk some miles this spring and summer, here are our tips to prevent back pain.

Get the right backpack

Whether you’re heading out for the day or you’re doing a long-distance trail, it’s important to properly carry the weight on your back. A poorly fitted backpack can cause back pain or aggravate existing conditions. It’s best to go to an outdoor shop and get the staff to find a bag that fits you well. Find one that straps across your waist and this will help distribute the weight.


Make sure to stretch at the start and end of your day. This will help to improve circulation and loosen the muscles - helping to reduce the stress on the joints. At the end of your hike you may experience muscle fatigue and soreness that could make your back feel worse. This is particularly important if you’re camping out overnight.

Try trekking poles

These are purely a personal preference, but many people with back pain opt to use them because they can help improve your posture when walking. When carrying a heavy bag or when walking up a hill, it can be hard to keep your posture correct. When using trekking poles it helps keep your body upright and reduce the amount of bag pain you may experience.

Give yourself time to recover

Pushing yourself too hard is a recipe for disaster. Start off with shorter hikes to begin with and give your body plenty of time in between to recover. If your body is still in pain, wait until you feel better to go on your next hike.

Seek professional back pain therapy

If you suffer with back problems it may be best to seek a professional chiropractor for back pain. They’ll be able to guide you through when to push yourself and when to take it easy. Contact your local chiropractor before you do any strenuous backpacking to check that you won’t be damaging your back further.

Optimal Health Chiropractic offers back pain therapy and chiropractic services in Edinburgh. Our experienced team is ready to help you live your life to the fullest and enjoy every adventure. Get in touch to book an appointment today.

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