The Chiropractor's Guide to Pain-Free Hiking

By Krista Elliott

On a crisp December day, there's nothing more invigorating than a nice, long hike. And in Phoenix, you're completely spoiled for choice when it comes to great hiking spots. One day you could be enjoying a smooth family-friendly hike and the next day, you're tackling some seriously challenging technical trails with your pals. 

Whether you're a casual hiker or a hardcore enthusiast, the last thing you want is a joint or spinal injury taking you out of commission. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to stay safe and injury-free while out on the trail. 

Prevention is Key

To make your hiking trip easier on your back and joints, there are a few good preventative measures that you should follow.

Boot Up: I'm not exaggerating when I say that good hiking boots can be a lifesaver. A good, grippy tread, solid ankle support, and comfy cushioning are all must-haves when it comes to hiking boots. Some outfitters will have rock-covered inclines inside the store so that you can test your boots before you buy them. And most importantly, do your homework. A boot might look great, with an aggressive tread, but can be completely useless on wet rocks due to the material in the sole. Reviews will tell you about anything you need to watch for. 

Stick With It: A solid walking stick or pole helps you keep your balance so you can avoid joint-damaging stumbles or falls. Even if you don't fall, flailing around to keep your balance can wrench muscles and throw joints out of alignment. A sturdy hiking pole is your back's best friend, allowing you to quickly regain your balance with a minimum of effort. 

Don't be a Loner: Yes, solo hikes are meditative and relaxing. But if you must go alone, stick to easy, low-grade trails. Joint damage caused by a fall or stumble can be made much worse if you don't have somebody to assist you or apply first aid. (This is also your reminder to always pack a good first-aid kit.) Don't forget a well-charged flashlight and phone for an emergency.

Get Aligned First: Hiking requires strength and good balance, neither of which are in strong supply if you have subluxations and misaligned joints. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments from The Joint Chiropractic can help ensure that your frame is in its best alignment possible, improving your balance and coordination, reducing pain, and helping your nervous system function at optimal levels. 

With these tips and regular visits to the chiropractors at The Joint, you'll be able to enjoy the challenges and glorious views that hiking can provide, pain-free! 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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