Prehabilitation For Common Festival Injuries

Woman performing some form of sound healing over man. Shot is taken from man's feet aiming toe to head while he is on the floor. They are inside a partially inflated hot air balloon.
Photo by: Foster Snell / @FosterTheExplorer

They say the best offense is a good defense. The same can be said when it comes to caring for our bodies.

At a camping festival, there is an abundance of beauty awaiting exploration. Along this path comes some fairly rugged terrain and great deal of wandering and dancing, coupled with some stumbling around!

During my time at festivals, I have noticed the following injuries are the most frequent compared to injuries that occur in day to day activities. This can be due to the muscles, bones, and ligaments in our body that get challenged from the long days walking, dancing, and sleeping on uneven surfaces.

Here are 3 injuries that are commonly seen within the festival community:

Massage train in a tea house! Focusing attention on shoulders, neck, back massage.
Photo by: Foster Snell / @FosterTheExplorer

Whiplash and Neck Pain

Sudden head movements can occur when we lay it all out there on the dancefloor. Whether you’re head banging, twirling, or even dropping it low.

The energetic jumping and thrashing can cause your head to be whipped back and forth abruptly, leading to overstretching and straining of neck tissues.

Sudden head movements can occur when we lay it all out there on the dancefloor. Whether you’re head banging, twirling, or even dropping it low. The energetic jumping and thrashing can cause your head to be whipped back and forth abruptly, leading to overstretching and straining of neck tissues.

Training your neck muscles will not only make it stronger but also help prevent whiplash symptoms.

  • Head Nods, Tilts, and Turns (6 sets, 6 reps each exercise)
  • Nod head up and down (like saying “yes”)
  • Tilt head side to side (ear to shoulder)
  • Turn head left to right (like saying “no”)
  • Forward Neck Stretch (2 sets, 30 seconds each side)
  • Tilt head forward then look down to your pocket until you feel the stretch on the opposite side of the neck.

Check that your sleeping arrangement is set up ergonomically, it can help alleviate any additional tension in the neck. Try sleeping on a pad, cot, or air mattress to help create a neutral spine.

Additionally, look at how tall your pillow is when laying on it. When the neck goes into a C-shape when lying face up on the pillow, that is when you know you’ve created a good neutral position for your neck. This will help avoid further straining the neck muscles and ligaments.

Man laying down with feet gently propped on pillow. Good example of spine alignment when laying down. He seems to be in a tea house. He is alone.
Photo by: Foster Snell / @FosterTheExplorer
Sometimes rest is best.

Ankle Sprain

Lucidity festival is held at the vast hills in Lake Cachuma. With the territory comes rocks, uneven terrain, and a lot of critter homes in the ground, which can be treacherous for ankles. When combined with crowds and low light, it is easy to twist an ankle from a misstep.

A key factor in preventing a rolled ankle is typically in the footwear. I recommend breaking in new shoes before festival season as well as getting custom orthotics made (since you’re going to be wandering and boogying many hours of the day!). Try to find a minimal and neutral shoe that you can wear for days on end.

Some stretches that you can do include:

  • Alphabet ankle circles (10 reps each foot)
  • Extend legs on the floor, then trace the letters of the alphabet with your toes, keeping your ankle relaxed.
  • Perform circles in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions to exercise both sides of the ankle.
  • Ankle dorsiflexion stretch (2 reps, 30 seconds each foot)
  • Extend legs on the floor, then loop a towel or resistance band around the ball of your foot. Gently pull your toes towards you while keeping your heel flat on the ground.
A row of participants of a yoga class in downward facing dog.
Photo by Ben Georges
Do. More. Yoga!

Backpack Syndrome

Carrying heavy backpacks for extended periods can lead to a condition known as “backpack syndrome.” This refers to a combination of pain and discomfort in the back, neck, and shoulders, often caused by carrying too much weight in a backpack, having a backpack that doesn’t fit properly, or putting uneven pressure on your shoulders.

I recommend a backpack with an even distribution for the water bladder as well as a waist strap. Having the waist strap helps distribute the weight that is heavily put on the upper back.

Some warm-up exercises you can do before putting on a backpack include:

  • Shoulder rolls (30 seconds)
  • Roll your shoulders forward and backward in small circles, focusing on loosening tight muscles.
  • This can be coupled when doing neck rolls, as a lot of the postural muscles in the back connect from the top of the shoulder blade to the vertebrae in the neck (and skull)
  • Upper back stretches
  • Stand with your hands clasped behind your back and gently arch your back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold or 10-15 seconds.
  • Windmill circles (3- seconds)
  • Make small circles with your arms forward and backward to improve shoulder mobility.

If you notice any muscle tension throughout the weekend at Lucidity, check out one of the yoga workshops to get your muscles stretched out. The healing sanctuary also has a wide range of healing practitioners like massage therapists, chiropractors, and more to help relieve some of the muscle soreness in the body.

*This year Lucidity is partnered with Gold’s Gym – if you wish to step your prehab exercise routine up check them out be good to your body!



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