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You can try to take everything ‘that you might need’ or think things over and take at least with you what you use on a daily basis at home and a few basic medications that probably will come in handy. Don’t overdo it by packing all your fears. They just add extra weight to your pack, and you know: they have pharmacies in Spain too…

As for your prescription medications: check the availability of your meds in the countries you’ll be visiting.

Ask your doctor for a prescription in English to have in case of emergency (loss of your meds).

Last but not least: to get the medications through customs it’s wise to take the original packaging with you (instead of small plastic bags with only the pills ;-)).

Nice to know: in Spain, when you see the green sign in the distance and it is not lighted – the pharmacy is closed.


Listen to your body!

Pain relief medication: take a blister of a general pain killer you commonly use, for emergency situations. Although we have seen examples of pilgrims ‘enduring’ their walks by taking pain medication, we need to advise against it for obvious reasons…

Pain is a way for your body to tell you something is not right. Taking pain medication is simply ignoring what your body is trying to tell you. The best way to deal with pain discomforts is to first of all identify the cause of the pain. Secondly, adapt your physical efforts to your pain level: if you can walk 10 km without pain but you can’t walk 20 without it, WALK 10 (instead of walking 20 with pain medication). If you keep on walking, the most probable result is that you’ll aggravate the cause of the pain. Besides that, chances are that you’ll need more and more medication if you continue to ignore the signals your body is sending you!


One type of pain you might encounter is a regular headache. While it is okay to take pain medication for an occasional headache, you should be watching the cause as well: are you getting a headache because you are dehydrated? Not changing any other thing accept starting the pain medications is a way of getting the perfect surprise heatstroke: you go from not having a headache to the sudden dizziness and potential collapse…

Taking medication and continuing to walk in the afternoon sun is NOT the right way to proceed in that situation. You should be taking the medication, drinking a lot, and staying in the shade as much as possible!

Muscle pain

Use of mild pain medication in the form of muscle ache creams (often a gel or cream containing ibuprofen or similar) for simple muscle soreness (without any serious underlying pathology like tendinitis) may seem like a good method to keep your muscles going. You’ll probably need it during the first days/week but you should keep in mind that it shouldn’t be necessary to walk the whole camino rubbed in that cream…

Using these anti-inflammatory medications is on the long term bad for your tissues. They can do more harm than good and you’ll only notice that once it is too late (‘I don’t know what happened, I suddenly injured my ankle’). On the Camino Francés you’ll find the most dense population of injured pilgrims about two weeks into the trail ;-).

Camino Fit Workshop

Deze workshop staat geheel in het teken van hoe je zonder blessures de Camino doorkomt!