It’s finally summer, and everyone’s schedules are filling up with activities, events, and vacations. While summertime brings great weather and more time to spend with those you love, it can also bring a higher risk of back injuries. Let’s take a look at a few summer activities that can take a toll on the health of your back.
Travel. This is a big one! Everyone’s got travel plans for the summer, and that means long car rides, cramped plane seats, and heavy, awkward luggage. Whether by plane, train, or car, traveling involves sitting (or even sleeping!) in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, which can do a number on your spine.
My advice is to come prepared. Bring extra support (such as a folded blanket or inflatable pillow) for your lower back and neck. Wear comfortable shoes that have lots of arch and ankle support. Make an effort to stay hydrated and move your body as much as possible between legs of the trip. To find even more tips for caring for your back while traveling, click here.
Amusement Parks. Theme parks are a huge industry in America﹘ and for good reason! People come from far and wide to experience the rush of riding a rollercoaster. Sadly, their spines pay the price. All those jerky, jolting movements can injure the neck and back, causing it to become misaligned.
While you might not feel the effects of these thrilling rides in the immediate aftermath of your favorite coaster, your back, as well as other parts of your body, might be feeling the effects for months afterward. I’d advise anyone who already suffers from back or neck pain to steer clear of rollercoasters. If you decide to ride, make sure to follow all safety precautions and see your chiropractor for an adjustment after your trip!
Gardening and Yard Work. While much tamer than riding a rollercoaster, taking care of your yard can also affect the health of your spine. During the winter, many of us take a break from gardening. When spring and summer roll around, it can be easy to jump back in and over-do it. Yard work involves a lot of bending, stooping, twisting, squatting, and lifting. Combine all those, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a sore back and a misaligned spine.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. I recommend that you warm-up before an afternoon in the yard. Yoga (or any kind of stretching) and brisk walking are great ways to get the body moving before getting to work. Also, while you’re tending to your garden, be sure to watch the quality of your movements. Here are a few tips:
- Maintain the natural curves of the spine as much as possible.
- When lifting, utilize your leg muscles, and hold objects close to the body.
- Avoid any sudden jerking movements while working.
- Switch up your positions and activities to avoid repetitive-motion injuries.
Too Much Too Fast. These three activities are just a few of the ways your back could be compromised this summer. A good rule of thumb is to ease into any physical activity you aren’t used to doing. Listen to your body﹘ if you feel pain or weakness, that’s your body telling you that it’s time to take a break. And remember, if you notice pain or soreness, see your chiropractor as soon as possible. A healthy spine makes for a fun, pain-free summer!