Festival Fun

03 Jul 2012

The Festival Season is well underway. The British Chiropractic Association provides advice for those planning on nights under the canvas and music under the stars.

With the promise of warm weather on its way back, a summer of live music is an appealing prospect – from open-air rock concerts to three-day festivals, there’s plenty to choose from. Many music-lovers may choose to camp overnight but, whilst they may remember their wellies, glow-sticks and a sleeping bag, they might not spare a thought for the effects that camping and general festival-life can have on their back.

When questioned by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA)*, 48% of respondents complained that they already suffer from neck or back pain, with 11% stating that it prevents them from sleeping. Given that those surveyed were sleeping on a normal mattress, extra precaution is certainly required when sleeping on the hard ground under canvas.

To ensure you don’t miss out on the festival fun and avoid ending up like the 10% of Brits who claim that back or neck pain prevents them from camping, the BCA has the following advice:

  • Protect your back – Ensure your back is protected against a hard and potentially damp surface by sleeping on a quality approved camping mat. Try to also take a pillow if you are used to having one. A blow-up pillow is the most portable.
  • Prep your sleeping area first – make sure to remove large stones or sticks that could dig into your spine.
  • Sleep sensibly: You should endeavour to sleep in a position where your spine is in line to avoid neck and back pain.

Another consideration that festival-goers should bear in mind is the size and weight of their rucksacks and luggage. 60% of Brits believe that lifting and carrying is the most likely cause of their back pain, whilst over a quarter (26%) specifically said that they felt carrying overstuffed rucksacks were to blame.

The bane of many a reveller’s festival experience is the long queue from the festival gates to the campsite. Standing for hours at a time with a heavy bag weighing down on your back could cause an injury, so be sure to consider the following advice:

  • Two bags are better than one – If possible, take two or more lighter bags rather than one so you can distribute the weight more evenly. Make sure you can pack all your kit into something that is easy to carry. A rucksack that has wide straps distributes the load more evenly over your back and if it has chest straps this further helps to dissipate weight.
  • Keep hydrated – If you are queuing in the sun for long periods of time, rather than alcohol, which will cause dehydration which, in turn, can aggravate muscle pain, drink 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.

Ultimately, festivals are a time to unwind, celebrate good music with friends and let your hair down. However, as with everything, your health should be taken into consideration and, whilst crowd-surfing seems like a great idea at the time, it could have serious repercussions for your back and neck.

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.”

Exe Chiropractic Clinic is located in central Exeter. Chiropractic is a safe, non-invasive treatment approach to musculoskeletal problems (lower back pain, neck pain, headaches). To book a consultation with a chiropractor call us on 01392 690200 or email us on info@exechiropractic.co.uk. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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