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Does Backpacking Hurt or Help My Posture?

A link between posture and backpacking has been discussed in the medical community but never, as far I know, has it been really studied.

Question:

I have been an avid backpacker for most of my life, and now that I’m getting up there in age I’m noticing my posture getting poorer. Does backpacking contribute to this? And do products like the posture girdle straps I’ve seen online help—or do the muscles and bones require more support than that? Is this a job for the chiropractor?

Submitted by - Tony

Answer:

A link between posture and backpacking has been discussed in the medical community but never, as far I know, has it been really studied.

Just about everybody sees some decline in posture as the years mount. I suspect that if we pack too much weight, especially if the center of gravity is too high and/or too far away from our spine, we might speed the arrival of poor posture.

On the other hand, a well-balanced pack might actually improve posture. You might consider a girdle strap if your back is bothering you—even if it isn’t, the strap won’t hurt. And, finally, I’ve been getting chiropractic adjustments. I believe they help me , but that’s anecdotal evidence, inadmissible in court.

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Doug Ness Chiropractor

    Buck has some great points… Number one being that he receives regular Chiropractic care. I am an avid backpacker therefore I understand the stress that is put on the human frame.
    The most important aspect of backpacking is being in proper shape, and that is not just your legs. Your core muscles and your upper torso and extremity muscles are also very important in being able to support a pack.
    Another key ingredient is your pack itself. This is where the rubber meets the road. Your pack should be fit to your frame. Take some time to make sure things are perfect. This is where places that sell packs that do custom fitting such as bending metal stays on internal frames and tightening straps here and there can make a world of difference, can make a world of difference.
    Some will argue with this but hiking poles do make a difference. They truly do take the stress off not only knees but all lower extremity joints. (they have done studies on this)
    In summary, first and foremost make sure your body is in shape BEFORE you hit the trail and visit a good Chiropractor!

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