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Hiking is an activity loved by many and underestimated by quite a lot as well. Some people even consider it to be merely walking, just slightly more challenging. That is definitely not the case. It can lead to complications if not done right, like lower back pain after hiking.
Lower back pain proves to be the number one cause of disability. Surprising, right? A fair amount of people consider back pain a common issue and neglect it entirely. On the contrary, it’s not as small an issue that can be ignored easily.
More than 6 million people in the USA alone continue to deal with chronic back pain. This means that it is an issue that is being overlooked and not taken care of.
Lower Back Pain Causes
There are some common causes for back pain that you could use to help diagnose yourself. Mostly lower back pain is caused by an injury, both from strain or a muscle sprain. It can also stem from diseases affecting other parts of the body like kidney infections or arthritis. If a different disease causes it, you’ll witness other symptoms as well.
Let’s talk about the most common causes of lower back pain.
Due to poor posture/body mechanics or excess activity, the muscles in the back can stretch. This would cause pain and stiffness in the lower back.
The risk of injury in discs in the back increases more and more as a person ages. A herniated disk is a rupture of the disk. It occurs when someone lifts something instantaneously or twists their back and lasts for more than three days.
3. Vertebral Fractures
Having osteoporosis can cause vertebral fractures.
Sciatica happens when an injured disk presses on the sciatic nerve, resulting in a burning or needle-like pain.
Another cause for back pain is an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Prevention Better than Cure
Fortunately, medical treatment exists for lower back pain, but prevention is still better than cure. We live in a time where almost everyone has ruined their respective postures due to electronic devices. It is important to consciously work on improving on this and creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself.
The first place to start is fixing your posture, whether it’s for when you’re sitting or standing, preventing lower back pain. Start getting regular exercise for your body to remain fit, and make sure you do it with the correct technique not to hurt yourself. Sleeping an unhealthy amount can also lead to lower back pain. Smoking, depression, and anxiety can also be contributing factors.
Self-care methods exist for lower back pain, and in case the pain isn’t severe or prolonged, they almost always help. Stopping your physical activities and getting some rest is step one. After that, applying ice on the area of pain is generally recommended for most kinds of pain. Alternating between heat and ice helps relax the muscles and hence, helps with the pain.
Pain killers also help with the pain (as the name suggests). Some slight massaging can help to relax the muscles and hence decrease the pain as well.
Hiking with Lower Back Pain
Hiking with lower back pain is not recommended, especially if it is severe. Still, if it is manageable, you can go hiking while making sure of some things; if the lower back pain after hiking persists or even increases, a visit to a doctor might prove to be necessary.
Hiking backpack weight is necessary to keep in mind when going hiking with lower back pain. This is because if your bag has too much load, it will further ruin your poster while hiking. This will, in turn, only make your hike both more stamina consuming and ruin your posture. Carrying excessive weight on your back like this could prove to make your back pain much worse.
Generally, the load for your bag pack when going hiking should be less for multiple reasons. These reasons only increase if you are leaving your house with preexisting lower back pain. It is generally recommended to get a lightweight material bag pack for yourself, so you can add more stuff to your bag without it being more solemn than usual.
If you’ve ever come across the usual hikers, you will find them using walking sticks. These are also known as trekking poles, and you find them being used for good reason. Trekking poles help increase your stability when you’re walking uphill and provide balance if you need it.
The general rule for using a trekking pole is to shorten it when moving upwards and lengthen it when moving down. These sticks massively benefit you in hiking in general and provide even further assistance for someone looking to minimize any extra pressure while hiking with lower back pain.
Hiking boots are the right choice while hiking with lower back pain. I mean, even generally, they are, but even more so when you need the extra support. They provide an excellent assist with the hike and extra comfort and so definitely recommended.
First Aid Kit
Space in a hiking backpack is already limited enough to make it impossible to add an entire health kit. But you still need essential medicine for your lower back in any case. This necessary equipment would include the usual pain killers, yes, but more importantly, heating pads.
In case your pain increases, you would need to take some rest and put on these heating pads. There are also pads available to us that alternate between hot and cold. As discussed earlier, the change in temperature helps with relaxing the muscles and helps with the pain massively.
If you’re hiking with lower back pain, it would be more recommended that you do it with a friend who could tend to you if ever need be. In any case, massaging the area of pain would help. Other than that, some rests in between so you don’t overexert yourself will only prove beneficial.
Conclusively, if you do go hiking with lower back pain, it can prove not to be a hurdle if taken care of correctly.