So.. it’s that time of year again! Easter is just around the corner and the tents and camping gear are getting unpacked and dusted off, prepped for their annual use! So here are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you can enjoy a camping trip that’s injury free and as pain-free, as possible, and also, that you don’t end up too stiff and sore when you get home from your relaxing escape!
- Don’t forget to take your own pillow so that you can maintain good neck support despite your otherwise potentially nonoptimal sleeping set up
- If possible, take an extra pillow to either place under your knees if you are a back sleeper, or between your legs / in front of you to wrap your arm around if you are a side sleeper – this will greatly improve your sleeping position on a potentially minimal support sleeping surface
- A great way to add some extra support and cushioning to a camping mattress that may either too thin, or lacking some integrity (we all know the feeling of waking up in the hollows formed by a slow air leak! ) is to use a mattress topper or protector if you have one – simply fit it to your air/foam mattress for a more comfortable and supported sleep! Especially for those with sore and stiff low backs, shoulders and hips.
- Remember your safe lifting and manual handling techniques when setting up your campsite! The last thing you want to do is injure yourself at the start of your trip and spend the rest of the time recovering! So remember:
- Use your legs to lift, not your back;
- Avoid lifting or loading in awkward positions or when you are twisted or rotated;
- Avoid bending and twisting at the same time especially when lifting a heavy item (e.g. eskies), and always keep the load close to your body; use two people to lift these heavier items if needed;
- Avoid loading or working in over-stretched or over-reaching positions (e.g. when tying off ropes or setting up poles)
- While getting away is a great way to unwind and forget about the world, it’s important not to forget about your injury management strategies! If you are looking after a current injury or you know you tend to tighten up or get sore in certain places when you’re away camping, then take precautions to avoid this and look after yourself properly!
- Ideas for self-care include:
- Taking a massage ball to use for trigger points muscle releases
- Using magnesium cream or a topical muscle cream to assist with muscle spasm that you may experience (we sell both magnesium and fisiocream to help with this, pick some up at your next appointment)
- Take your foam roller!! (now I saw most of you just roll your eyes.. but bear with me! 😉 ) – this can be good not only for muscle releases but can also double as a support under your knees when you sleep to improve your posture if you generally lie on your back (as an alternative to using a pillow as mentioned earlier)
- STRETCH – don’t forget your stretches, especially any tailored “reset stretches/exercises” that your treating therapist has given you! This is a perfect setting to unwind and relax into your favorite stretch positions (without the stress of watching the clock, you can even hold your stretches for >30seconds!! 😉 ) – and besides, it will make you feel GREAT afterward, allowing you to fully enjoy your time away!!
- Another side note – depending on the nature of your injury, don’t forget to pack painkillers or anti-inflammatories if these have been prescribed to you for management; even just as a precaution so that you can respond immediately to any niggle or flare-up that may occur when you’re away from home
- Yes, it’s a chance to relax, BUT.. don’t just sit on your butt and do nothing! Stay active with gentle, low-impact activity – make the most of what the outdoors and your environment has to offer – do walks, go swimming, KEEP MOVING! This is the best way to ensure you don’t stiffen up on your trip away!
- If you have access to a swimming hole or creek, being immersed in water is a fantastic way to decompress physically and allow your body to recover from any aches or pains, so jump in! (or rather.. walk slowly, and be careful not to slip on any slimy rocks.. 🙂 ) Spending some time in torso/chest height water is ideal for this as the effect of buoyancy will help to take the load and pressure off any sore or aggravated areas.
Keep the above tips in mind in order to stay as safe as you can and hence enjoy your trip as much as possible! But above all, have fun!! And Happy Easter from the Physionorth team 🙂
Written by Senior Physiotherapist Anna Marhin
Photo credit: @griffo_mate (instagram) & Anna Marhin.