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How to Extend Hikes with Chronic Pain

Hiking is a relaxing activity that allows you to experience  wonderful views, and gives you an escape from  technology and other worldly distractions. Going on a hike can be peaceful, which may be hard to find in your daily life when dealing with chronic pain. But, chronic pain does not have to prevent you from participating in enjoyable activities or keep you from experiencing the wonders of a hike.

Lighten Your Load

It’s important to carry a backpack when hiking filled with healthy snacks, refreshments, and a first-aid kit. Carrying unnecessary items with you on a hike may cause your chronic pain to be worse, as a heavier load puts a greater burden on your back. Before using just any backpack, a backpack that supports your spine by eliminating strains and one that prevents hunching is so important. Keeping a lightweight, supportive backpack will help you better manage your chronic pain while on a hike.

Back Stretching

Your muscles, with repeated movements, naturally adjust in your body. For example, if your body is used to sitting in a chair most of the day for weeks on end, your muscles remember that position and are likely to naturally stay in that position. But with hiking, your natural muscle movements are disrupted, and your muscles are susceptible to new ranges of motion. Keeping this in mind, stretching before and after your hike will allow your muscles to relax and loosen up. Stretching will even help decrease the pain that you may experience after your hike.

Check Your Posture

Aside from hiking, any setting that puts pressure on your spine causing you poor posture can be detrimental. Beginning and ending your hike with a natural posture is so important to keep in mind. Make sure not to have poor posture when carrying a backpack, wearing poor footwear, or carrying any additional gear. Before leaving for your hike, make sure your posture is in line and you’re not hunching or leaning when hiking. 

Chronic pain should not control your life or keep you from doing activities you love. For some, minimally invasive spine treatment options are helpful in order to continue an active lifestyle. Contact the experts at Pain Specialty Group are here to help you understand and discuss possible treatment options. And when on a hike, make sure to enjoy the view!

Aidan Fisher, Maureen Cassidy Pain Specialty Group

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