Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When Backpacking?

By Alice Nichols

Backpacking is a fun activity that allows you to explore the outdoors. But it can also be physically demanding, and if you don’t take the proper precautions it can lead to pain and injury.

One common complaint among backpackers is shoulder pain, which can range from mild discomfort to intense agony. So why do your shoulders hurt when backpacking?

The most common cause of shoulder pain when backpacking is due to the weight of the pack. A heavy pack puts extra strain on your shoulders, which can lead to pain in the muscles and joints. The way you carry your pack also plays a role; if you carry it too high or too low, or if the straps are too tight, it can cause additional strain on your shoulders.

Another factor is poor posture while carrying a pack. Many backpackers slouch over while walking, which puts extra strain on their shoulders and neck. This can lead to tightness in the muscles and joints, resulting in shoulder pain.

Finally, fatigue can be a factor in shoulder pain when backpacking. When your body becomes tired from walking for long distances with a heavy load on your back, it’s more difficult for your muscles to support the load properly. This leads to tension in the muscles and joints, which causes shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain when backpacking is typically caused by carrying a heavy pack or poor posture while carrying it. Fatigue can also contribute to shoulder pain as your muscles become fatigued from supporting a heavy load over long distances. To prevent shoulder pain while backpacking, make sure you have a properly fitted pack with adjustable straps and make sure you maintain good posture while walking with it on.