Summer Activities That Can Lead to Back Pain
Now that it’s summertime, many of us are catching up on yard work and enjoying outdoor activities. Unfortunately, back pain can be a consequence if you work or play too hard and don’t follow a few simple back precautions. These activities are common causes of back pain.
Gardening and Yard Work
Weeding, mowing, planting, raking, and other lawn and garden tasks can take a toll on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in your back. Muscles in your back can be strained when you lift heavy bags of mulch or gravel, while stiffness and muscle spasms may be a consequence of sitting in the same position for hours when planting flowers and shrubs.
Following a few of these tips can help you avoid back pain:
- Ask for help when lifting heavy items or use a wheelbarrow or dolly to move items safely from one place to another.
- Take frequent breaks when painting or planting to prevent your back from stiffening up.
- Don’t twist your body when you lift or dig.
- Use your arm and leg muscles to push your mower. Better yet, consider buying a riding mower if you have a big yard.
- Raise your flower beds to reduce the amount of bending you’ll need to do to tend to your plants.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Road trips are a summer tradition for many American families. Unfortunately, spending hours sitting in a car (or plane or train) can cause back pain and stiffness. If your vehicle’s seat isn’t comfortable, use cushions that provide lumbar (low back) and neck support.
Make time in your schedule for frequent stops if you’re traveling by car. If you’re a passenger on a plane or train, get up from your seat and take a walk through the car or cabin every two hours. Walking not only helps you avoid back pain, but may also decrease your risk of a blood clot due to inactivity.
Golf, Tennis, and Other Sports or Outdoor Activities
Swinging a golf club, tennis racquet, or baseball bat can strain your back muscles and joints, particularly if your form is off or your posture is bad. According to the American Chiropractic Association, a force equal to 10 times your body weight is exerted on your spine during a golf swing. Playing these sports may also increase your risk of elbow and hip pain.
Working with a professional or coach can help you ensure that you’re using the best form when you swing. If you don’t have a pro or coach, you’ll find plenty of information on stances, swings, and body mechanics in online videos.
Hiking or biking may also increase your risk of back pain or injuries. If you’re a hiker, make sure you wear hiking shoes or boots that offer adequate support for your feet. You can also use a walking stick to improve your balance and reduce pressure on your back.
Spending hours in one position during a long bike ride may lead to back spasms and a reduced range of motion. Make sure your bike is the right size for your body. If you have to stretch to reach the handlebars or the seat is too high, you’re more likely to strain your lower back.
You don’t actually have to participate in a sport to suffer a sports-related injury. In fact, just watching the game can be a painful experience.
If your back hurts after spending a few hours at your child’s sporting event, the seats may be to blame. Bleachers or uncomfortable seats can increase pressure on your lower back and trigger painful inflammation. If you’ll be a frequent spectator this summer, avoid back pain by bringing a portable stadium seat with an attached back, and stand and stretch at regular intervals.
Chiropractic Care Helps You Avoid Summer Back Pain
Regular chiropractic treatments will keep your spine properly aligned and your muscles, ligaments, and tendons loose and flexible. Your visits may include several types of treatments, including massage, ice and cold therapy, transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), traction, and spinal manipulation and mobilization.
Treatments are tailored to your specific sport or activity. For example, chiropractic treatments can correct postural imbalances that improve your golf swing and help you avoid back pain. Does your favorite sport involve running or jumping? Your chiropractor can create a treatment plan that helps reduce strain on your joints and muscles.
Are you tired of living with back pain? Scheduling regular chiropractic visits this summer offers a simple solution. Contact our office to make your appointment.
American Chiropractic Association: Chiropractic and Golf — A Winning Combination, 1/7/16
Palmer College of Chiropractic: Sports Chiropractic