June sees the start of a summer of festivals across the UK and Europe.
Appealing to young and old, they focus on food and other activities as well as music; something for everyone. If a festival is on your agenda for this summer whether it’s rain or shine, it is important to take care of your back so you can maximise the fun.
Many festival-goers just go for the day and some will choose to camp overnight but all will be sitting or sleeping on hard surfaces, carrying bags/rucksacks and standing for hours on end.
Tim Hutchful, British Chiropractic Association (BCA) chiropractor, concludes that, although we all want to have fun, it is also important to remain level-headed and switched on to potential risks: “We all love the chance to let our hair down, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our health. Simple things, such as remaining on the edge of a boisterous crowd or warming up slightly before dancing can help festival-goers to avoid injury and still have the time of their lives.”
See our top tips to help to have the best festival for your back.
Two bags are better than one – Whether packing for the weekend or just the day, if you have a lot to carry, it is much better to take two or more lighter bags rather than one so you can distribute the weight more evenly.
Rucksacks are best – Make sure you can pack your kit into something that is easy to carry. A rucksack with wide straps will distribute the load more evenly over your back and, if it has chest straps, this further helps to even out the load. Cross body bags are a good alternative or second bag option.
Protect your back – Ensure your back is protected against a hard and potentially damp surface by sleeping on a good quality camping mat. Use a sitting mat when you are resting during the day and, if uncomfortable, change position as soon as possible.
Pillow Talk – Having a pillow will help you get a good sleeping position and, if your pillow from home is comfortable and supportive, try to take it with you. If this is not practical, a blow-up pillow is the most portable. Have a ‘dry run’ on it before you leave home to make sure you can sleep comfortably.
Prepare your sleeping area – make sure to remove large stones or sticks that could dig into your spine.
Keep hydrated – If you are standing or queuing or long periods of time, drinking alcohol will cause dehydration which, in turn, can aggravate muscle pain. This is made worse if it is warm, sunny or windy. Make sure you keep topped up with plenty of water and juice.
Still Standing – If you know that you are going to be on your feet for a long time, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart to support your back and hips.