Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ah, The Great Outdoors

Did you ever notice that canoes don’t come with backrests?  Or ergonomically designed seats?  What about sleeping bags – where’s that lumbar support?  Well, it may not be the most comfortable way to travel, but for many people, camping and canoeing are what summer is all about.  For those of you who love the great outdoors, follow these tips to help prevent back pain and injury:

• Check out an outdoor supply store for equipment that can make the trip easier on your back.  Ask about fold-up chairs with back supports, pads to cushion your sleeping bag, and backpacks that provide good support.

• Once a pack is full, it’s quite a load on your back and shoulders.  Make sure the weight of your backpack is evenly distributed. Pack any hard, bumpy or odd-shaped items on the outside, so they don’t dig into your back.  Use a pack with wide, padded straps, and adjust them so the pack sits tight against your back.  This will reduce strain on your back, shoulders, and neck.

• Always bend your knees to lift packs and other equipment.  When taking a canoe off the car, bend your knees as you lower it to the ground.  When lifting the canoe, make sure your feet are firmly planted, bend your knees, and try to keep your spine from twisting as you raise it over your head and slide it onto the roof.

• When you’re hiking or canoeing, stop and stretch at least every hour to prevent stiff, sore muscles and joints the next day.


1.  Exercise regularly

2.  Follow a healthy diet

3.  Maintain good posture

4.  Stretch your spine before and after sports

5.  Don't overload your backpack or shoulder bag

6.  Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting

7.  Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder

8.  Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach

9.  Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress - it's worth it!

10.  Have regular spinal check-ups

Have fun, but watch your back!
Activities that jolt your spine can cause pain and injury to your back.

These include waterskiing, jet skiing, cross-country biking, dirt biking, and horseback riding.

Enjoy yourself, but take it easy.

Always wear the right protective equipment.

And check with your chiropractor to see if these activities are right for you.