Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and really enjoy the great outdoors. It can help give your mental health a positive boost, and it gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
For people with scoliosis, though, camping can cause a lot of worries. Will I be able to sleep? Will I be able to go on long walks? What if I need to go home?
Roughing it in the wild without any pain or discomfort might seem like an impossible dream for those of us with curved spines, but there are a few things you can do to help make your camping experience more enjoyable.
1. Keep doing your scoliosis exercises. As you know, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic promote an exercise-based system of scoliosis treatment. If you are able to, we recommend that you visit us for treatment before going on your camping trip. Our ScolioGold therapists will teach you some vital exercises that you can do to improve your mobility and comfort while you are away.
2. Take a few extra pillows with you. Having extra pillows will make it easier to support the parts of your body that are aching when you go to sleep. Try placing a pillow between your legs to help straighten your spine. Aligning your spine in this way can really help to reduce pain for the next day.
3. Take a soft, thick roll mat or blow-up bed. This will put something between your back and the ground when you lie down to go to sleep. If you're already struggling with back pain due to your scoliosis, lying on uneven ground is likely to accentuate it further. Outdoor stores sell plenty of comfortable, lightweight mats and inflatable beds that are ideal for camping trips.
4. Pack lots of blankets and warm clothes. If you're camping in the summertime (at a music festival, for instance), this tip may seem a little counter-intuitive. But even if it's hot during the day, the temperature will drop dramatically after dark, and sleeping in cold temperatures can cause your muscles to tense throughout the night. Keeping warm during the night will help you to achieve a better range of motion when you wake up in the morning.
5. Ensure you have comfortable hiking boots with ankle supports. Investing in a high-quality pair of hiking boots will prevent knee and back pain during the day. It's generally advised that you wear them in a little before embarking on your trip into the great outdoors - you don't want to give yourself blisters!
6. Choose your backpack wisely. There are hundreds of backpacks for you to choose from. Spend some time trying different ones on and getting an idea of what's comfortable for you. If your shoulders or hips sit unevenly, adjust the backpack straps to compensate. This will help the backpack sit straighter on your back and reduce discomfort throughout the day.
7. Take painkillers with you. One drawback of venturing into the wilderness is that you can't just pop to the shops if there's something you've forgotten. If you think your scoliosis pain will become too overbearing to sleep through, put some painkillers in your rucksack before you set off. Your doctor can advise you on the best medication to take with you on your camping trip.
8. Have a backup plan. Although you might find camping a breeze for the first night or two, things may get harder the longer you stay away from home. It's OK to end the trip early if needs be, but be sure to have a plan in place that will enable you to get home if you decide you've had enough. This will put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy your camping holiday to the maximum.
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