When people think of the Rocky Mountains, they think about skiing, hiking, and backcountry camping. There are countless miles of trails throughout Northern Colorado, and if you plan to visit some of them this spring or summer, it’s important that back pain doesn’t slow you down. You might be heading out on an easy trek, or you might be planning a more difficult hike through the high country, but whatever the case may be, preparing your body is key to staying safe during your trip. At the Colorado Spine Institute in Loveland, we can properly diagnose the source of your pain, make sure you know what to expect from your body, and help you to understand how far you can push yourself.

Getting Your Gear

Whether you’re heading out on a day hike or you’re planning a backpacking trip, it’s important to find the right gear. Perhaps the most important items are a good pair of hiking boots or shoes and a properly-sized backpack. The right shoes should provide arch support and cushioning so as you walk over uneven terrain you don’t jar your back or take a misstep and fall to the ground. For the backpack, you’ll want to be sure you can carry it easily, even when it’s full. Uneven weight distribution across your shoulders can be a quick path to increased back pain.

Preparing Your Body

If you are already experiencing back pain, it’s important to think about whether or not a hike is a good idea. If you feel that it is, it’s important to prepare your body, even if it’s on the morning of the hike. Stretching can help loosen up the muscles in your back, and our doctors can help you discover stretches that will be beneficial. If you’re planning a more in-depth hike or camping trip that will take a few days, you may need to start training a few weeks before you leave. By working on your shoulders, back, and buttocks, you can keep your back and legs from hurting a mile or two into the hike.

Pace Yourself

Once you’re on the trail, it’s important to pace yourself. Hopefully you’ve done some research before heading out and know how much elevation you’ll gain during the hike, and when you encounter uneven terrain, take your time to find sure footing and protect yourself against falling. If you know how far you have to go in one day and you’ve started early enough, you should be able to go at a comfortable pace and not have to worry about straining your back or tiring out your legs.

If you’re planning some spring or summer hikes this year, don’t let back pain ruin your plans. Come to the Colorado Spine Institute for a thorough evaluation and examination. We can help you decide if hiking is in the cards this year, or if it would be better to take some off and let your body heal. Schedule an appointment by using the form below, or call us at (970) 373-2682 to find a time that works for you.

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