Spine Care in the Summer: What you Need to Know
The warm, sunny days of summer are prime time for outdoor activities, pool parties, traveling and sports. With the increase in activity, though, comes an increased risk for spine and back problems that can sideline a person until autumn. Fortunately, taking certain steps may help reduce a person’s risk for back injuries and help him or her stay active all season long.
Tips for a Healthy Back this Summer
Return to outdoor activities gradually
While someone might be anxious to jump right into their gardening or favorite sport, it pays to start slow. During the winter months, the muscles used for those activities may have lost tone and strength, which makes them more susceptible to injury.
Instead of digging up and planting the entire garden in one afternoon, for example, gardeners can plan to spend one or two hours working on each of the first few days. They can then gradually increase their gardening time as their muscles build up strength and endurance.
Traveling usually requires long hours of sitting in a car, plane or train, which can cause back and neck pain. Break up long trips and stretch your legs when possible. Travelers can take advantage of rest stops when traveling by car, and walk up and down the aisles of an airplane or train to prevent back pain and stiffness.
Travelers should consider their sleeping arrangements before leaving home. Sleeping on an air mattress can save a camper’s back at the campground. When sleeping on the road becomes necessary, using a u-shaped neck pillow can prevent a person’s head from tilting at an uncomfortable angle when they sleep in an upright position.
Take care around water
Playing in the water is fun, especially on a hot summer day, but water can be dangerous. Hitting one’s head when diving into shallow or unknown water can result in serious injury to the neck. Serious back injuries can also occur when a person slips on wet surfaces near the pool.
To stay safe around water, avoid running and take care when participating in activities in shallow water, such as surfing, water skiing and body boarding. Swimmers should always get instruction from an expert when participating in a new or unfamiliar water sport.
Go easy on the golf course
The twisting motion of a golf swing may lead to chronic back pain or herniated discs, which means the rubbery cushions between the bones of the spine “rupture.”
Golfers can attempt to avoid problems on the greens through proper stretching prior to activity and using proper swing techniques on the course. Core strengthening exercises can help prevent over-swing.
Summer Care for Back Pain
Even with the greatest care during summer activities, back pain can happen. What someone does after hurting his or her back can make a big difference in how much pain they experience and how long it takes them to recover.
Anyone experiencing severe pain, numbness or tingling in his or her arms or legs after a back injury, or whose pain gets worse or persists for more than a few days, should consult with a back doctor or spine surgeon.
For more information about spine care in the summer, contact SPINE/RX - The Center for Spine Repair and Regeneration. Our world-class orthopedic spine surgeon, James Dwyer, MD, offers modern spine surgery solutions to relieve neck and back pain, regardless of condition. Our Hoboken, NJ, back surgeon uses the most minimally invasive procedure possible to achieve the most definitive results for every patient. Contact SPINE/RX today. Let us help you get back to your summer fun.