Choosing the Correct Backpack while backpacking is an important decision. If too big, then you will put excessive pressure on the back, if too small then you won’t fit in enough gear. There are lots of options, but here are a few things to consider:
Water resistant material – Especially if you plan on hiking in climates where there may be rain, you want to ensure that you gear does not get wet. Look out for backpacks which come with a trap for even more protection.
Correct Backpack Padded Hip Belt:
This will ensure more comfort for those long hikes/trips and help to distribute the weight more evenly to your hips, rather than directly on your lower back. You will already be doing lots of walking which puts more pressure through the back, so this simple addition can help to decrease strain of your lower back muscles and joints.
Padded Shoulder straps – You will have lots of gear in your bag, meaning lots of weight. Having this extra padding will take pressure off your shoulders.
Contoured backpack – Having a contour on the backpack which moulds to the shape of your lower back allows for even distribution and increased comfort. This is similar to the support in an office chair which helps to support the lower back!
If you are suffering from lower back pain while you are backpacking, then there are a few strategies which you can use to decrease your pain:
Use heat – Whether this is via a heat pack, heat creams/gels or from a warm shower, heat is effective to improve blood flow through the body which will help to promote healing, and decrease the tension of muscles which will allow for greater movement and less pain.
Correct Backpack Stretch – performing a few stretches for the lower back can help to decrease tension of muscles and joints. Here are a few to try;
Lay on your back with your knees bent up but your feet still on the ground. Keep your knees and ankles together and slowly rotate your knees to the left and then to the right. Repeat 10 times to each side.
Lie on your back and keep one leg flat on the floor and the opposite knee bent up. Using your hand from the side with the flat leg, hold on to the bent knee and pull it across your body. Move slowly into this position. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat to the other side.
Visit a physiotherapist – sometimes pain goes too far and self management strategies like heat and stretching cannot get on top of the pain. In times like this, it is a good idea to visit a health professional to help treat the issue and get you back to enjoying your trip.