Being more active in the summer is great for your body and mind, but some activities can put you at risk for back pain. These easy guidelines will help you enjoy working in the garden, hitting the golf course, and taking trips without the summer back pain.
Avoid Too Much, Too Fast
When the sun comes out to stay, you may find that extra motivation to set fitness goals for yourself. Remember, you may have become de-conditioned over the cold winter months and need to ease back into daily activity to avoid back pain symptoms. Rather than starting out by walking five miles a day, begin with short jaunts and increase your mileage over several weeks, he suggests. This gradual approach will also help you avoid sore muscle pain and back pain symptoms from overdoing activity.
Resist Being a ‘Weekend Warrior’
Another common lifestyle habit that can be a back pain cause is rushing headlong into the weekend after spending the previous five days glued to an office chair. Rather than risking back pain from a wild weekend with no pre-conditioning, work on getting in 30 minutes of moderate exercise or more every day so you’re stronger and better conditioned when it’s time to hit the tennis court or set out on a long hike on the weekend. Daily exercise will translate to pain-free Saturdays and Sundays.
Grow Into Gardening
Two of the most common back pain causes in the summer are gardening and lawn work. Raking, pulling, twisting, and lifting heavy bags can all lead to back pain symptoms. The answer? Pace yourself. Your flower or vegetable garden doesn’t need to be planted in one day. Take breaks and, to avoid pain, try not to bend at the waist. Also, pay attention to good posture and stretch to avoid back pain. If you’re bending forward in the garden, be sure to stretch backward.
Give Flip-Flops the Boot
The stability of your foot and the support of your arch affect everything, including your back. Since a flimsy pair of flat flip-flops can lead to back pain symptoms, choose a sandal that supports your arch and keeps your foot stable with support around your heel and the front of your foot, he says. This is especially true when you want to avoid back pain while doing yard work. To avoid pain, wear good, supportive shoes rather than flip-flops or old tennis shoes.
Bag the Heavy Golf Bag
Carrying any heavy bag stresses your posture and is a common cause of back pain, and a golf bag loaded with clubs can weigh as much as 35 pounds. The goal is to limit the weight of any bag you tote to no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Protect against back pain by using a pull-cart bag on the golf course and by buying the lightest golf bag that you can. Doing stretching exercises before and after your golf game will also help prevent pain.
Build Breaks Into Long Car Trips
Your body was designed to change position frequently. When you know you will be cooped up in the car for several hours, short-circuit potential back pain symptoms by pre-treating your back: Take a brisk walk to warm up before your trip and do the same once you get where you’re going. In the car, adjust your seat so you’re close to the steering wheel and use a back support to try to avoid back pain. Pulling over for frequent car breaks will also help you avoid body aches and pains.
Take Action During Air Travel
Sitting on an airplane for hours at a time is another potential back pain cause. Prevent pain with back support. Place a pillow or rolled blanket behind your back above your belt and another in the gap between your head and the headrest. Also, save your back from the pain and strain of lifting a heavy bag into an overhead compartment by checking anything that’s heavier than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.
Source: www.everydayhealth.com; Marie Suszynski; July 11, 2011.