Backpacks & Back Pain

Backpacks & Back Pain
Hiking out into the wild backcountry with nothing but what you carry on your back is a wonderful pastime, but when back pain creeps into the picture, backpacking can become a forced march.

Overarching vs. Standing Straight

According to Dr. Jolie Bookspan of the World's Together Travel Network, most back pain while backpacking comes from overarching the lower back under weight instead of standing straight against the carried weight load. Bookspan suggests the backpacker should stand so the tailbone is under him, keeping the hip level with the upper thigh bone.

Leaning Forward

Another cause of back pain while backpacking is leaning forward. Because the weight is posterior, it is natural to want to lean forward. By practicing standing straight with the load, back pain can be reduced.

Too Much Weight

For many newbies to backpacking, overpacking is common. Before packing, make a list of the essentials.

Exercise the Back Muscles

By strengthening back muscles before backpacking, injury and pain is avoided.

Use Poles

By using trekking poles, weight is distributed over arms and shoulders, reducing back pain and injury.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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