Brighton Chiropractor On How to Avoid Back Pain While Hiking

Summer is here, which means hiking season!

Hiking is great for your body and mind. Cardio exercise while immersing yourself in nature is an ideal combination for pain management, improving mental health and building your general fitness. Over time, hiking strengthens the muscles that support your spine and maintains flexibility and posture, as well as improving your balance and coordination. 

If hiking has ramped up your back pain in the past, you may be reluctant to try it again.  However, we’re here to tell you that with some preparation and simple techniques, you can start hiking without fear of back pain returning. 

Use trekking poles to prevent back pain.

For hikers who want to avoid back pain, we can’t recommend this enough! Not only do they provide stability on uneven terrain, they support your weight, making it much easier to go uphill and take some of the pressure off your joints on sharp inclines. They also help to keep your body upright, making it easier to use your core muscles. All of these things will make post-hiking back pain far less likely. 

Wear supportive shoes to protect your joints and muscles.

Did you know that back pain often originates from improperly supported feet? If your arch flattens too much, your knee and hip rotate inwards and this can irritate these joints. This has a knock on effect and irritates your pelvic and lower lumbar joints and muscles. We recommend Superfeet Green insoles to combat this and can fit them at the clinic, or see our podiatrist at our Kemptown clinic. Finally, get a proper fitting for your hiking boots or shoes.

Use a backpack with a waist strap to prevent pain.

Backpacks with a waist strap ensure that the weight is carried lower, so you don’t have to bend forward too far, which eases the strain on your back. Also, the weight is carried on your pelvis rather than your shoulders, which eases shoulder and upper back pain.  

Stretch to prevent soreness.

Taking time to warm up before a hike with some shallow lunges or squats as well as heel raises will improve circulation, loosen your muscles, and reduce fatigue. And while we’re talking about exercises, good core strength is very important for hiking. Try our best three exercises to prevent back pain here.

Rest to prevent muscle strain.

 Back pain often comes from overexertion. When you start to feel tired, out of breath or stiff, don’t push through it. Take a few minutes to rest and try not to rush the hike itself. Walk at a steady pace, even slightly slower than feels natural to you, and this will keep your momentum up without tiring you or straining your muscles. 


Happy Hiking! If you would like to know more about how to prevent back pain, get in touch today. We’re always happy to help. Also, why not have a look at another article “Walking your way out of back pain”.