One potential travel health issue that is often overlooked is back care. Let’s face it, there are a lot of things in your back that are quite important. Muscles, discs and oh yeah, how about your spine? Traveling in uncomfortable transportation and lugging around a heavy rucksack can lead to back pain and in some cases, actual injury. What’s more, some travelers may leave for their trip with an existing back condition, which could be easily aggravated depending on their mode of travel. In this post, we will offer a few tips that will help you care for your back while on the road.
If it’s going on your back, keep it light and balanced
If you want a surefire way to instigate back pain, try heaving around a rucksack that is overloaded and unbalanced. You may not notice the pain right away, but if you spend 30-40 minutes walking with it, you may create a situation that will actually be painful for several days.
As this helpful article points out, it’s imperative to keep your pack light and balanced. Often, I load up my heavy items in a suitcase that has wheels. Then, I carry a rucksack that is of the smaller variety, one that I can take with me on the plane. In this bag I will put my valuables, at least one change of clothes, and most my toiletries. I get rid of the heavy suitcase early on, at the ticket counter, and then I don’t have to carry anything heavy through security and who knows how many terminals.
Spend a bit extra for comfort
I’ve spent countless hours of my life crammed into overcrowded mini-buses and teetering public ferries. There was a point when I could take long journeys with such transportation and have nothing more than a bit of fatigue the following day. Flash forward several years later and it takes several days for me to recover and I often have aches all over, most notably, back aches, which are particularly worrying. I’ve learned my lesson and I now spend a bit of extra money to travel in more comfort. That doesn’t mean I’m buying first class plane tickets, but I am upgrading where I can, and in almost every case, the extra money spent has been worth it.
Don’t overdo it
If you plan on walking the 5 kilometers to your guesthouse and then going on an all afternoon sightseeing tour, you may find that your plans for the following days may be compromised. Of course, if it’s a nice walk and you don’t have a rucksack on your back, go for it. But if it seems like a tall order, it probably is – ask yourself what your priorities are on your trip. And, if you do decide to have a marathon day, make sure you build some rest days into your trip, so that you can fully recover.
Feel free to suggest your own back care tips in the comments below.
Photo credit: flickr user imac67