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Camping & 'In-tents' Ache

Who doesn’t love getting out of town and going camping!?

Both Ballina and Byron Bay, are known for being popular tourist destinations and offer many options for those interested in camping. As a result, over the years, our team has become quite familiar with the 'in-tents' aches and pains associated with camping.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common contributing factors.

Roughing it!

Even though the majority of us come back having had a great time, inevitably some of us

return with a few extra aches and pains. The absence of your familiar pillow and

mattress can impact your musculoskeletal system and sleep quality, leading to discomfort.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to bring our comfy mattress from home,

when we go camping, but we are able to apply a few easy solutions to help minimise

the effect it has on our body.

What are you sleeping on?

If you are lucky enough to have a van or a camper, decking it out with a good supportive mattress, that suits your personal needs, is as good as bringing your regular mattress with you. If you are in a tent, ensuring you have something to soften your sleep is essential. This can range from a foam sleeping mat, ultralight inflatable mattress or a large double bed inflatable mattress.

Pillow talk

If you find that your neck generally gives you grief when sleeping on a different pillow, taking your regular pillow from home might be a good option. Having a pillow that supports your neck and keeps it in a neutral position, will help minimise the stain placed through your spine while you sleep. If you are a side sleeper, you will want a pillow that is slightly thicker, whereas a back sleeper, will need a thinner pillow. Stomach sleepers will need a thinner pillow still. The overall aim is to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine (aka a neutral position).


If your campsite requires you to walk some distance, it’s worth having a think about what and how you are packing your gear. If your camping experience begins with a hike, ensuring you only pack the essentials, will help to minimise the weight in your bag. Additionally, having a well fitted pack that buckles around the hips, will offload the weight from your back and help distribute it ergonomically. For bulkier items, being conscious of how you are lifting (with your knees, not your back) and lifting heavier items between 2 or more people, will also assist.

On your way there/ setting up

While driving to your destination, having regular stops along the way, to stretch your legs, can help with reducing pain and stiffness. If you are luck enough to have seat warmers, either using them during your trip, or just before you get out of the car will keep the blood flowing to your lower back. Once you arrive, a quick stretch or walk around can help get your body ready to set up your site.

For in-tents pain

If the aches and pains persist, applying heat can help. Most chemists have single use heat pads, which are handy for when you do not have access to your regular arsenal for pain relief. Seeking manual therapy, like remedial massage and osteopathy, can also assist with addressing the presenting pain.

Whether it’s for a long weekend or just to get away, camping is great choice of holiday and prepping for your getaway can help reduce your chance of post trip aches and pains. 


Retrain Health is based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. From our Byron Bay and Ballina clinics, our team provides a range of quality healthcare services and products.

Retrain Health offers osteopathy, remedial massage and strength and conditioning sessions with qualified practitioners.

If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an appointment, please contact the clinic by phone (02) 6680 7447, send us an email or click here to book an appointment online.

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