Summer is a transformative time. With plenty of sunny days and ample outdoor activity in the Triangle area, it’s prime time to take advantage of all that summer has to offer. Unfortunately, summer fun can sometimes have an unexpected impact on your spinal health. So to keep you protected this summer, we’ve put together a list of ways to avoid spine pain or injury while enjoying your favorite summertime activities.
Calling all green-thumbs! Gardening is a restorative activity and a great way to enjoy warm summer days. However, crouching and bending for long periods of time can place stress on your spinal muscles. You will want to stretch regularly, before and during your time in the garden. Make sure to take breaks where you can walk around, improving circulation and allowing your body to rest.
With most physical activity, including hiking, stretching is key to loosening your muscles and preparing your body for movement. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes that will also support your ankles. You can also use a walking stick to improve your balance and reduce the risk of twisting your body.
Kayaking is a popular water sport in North Carolina. It is important to pay attention to how you sit in the kayak – you should not be slumped or overly tilt your head. Again, taking breaks to stretch your arms over your head or adjust your seating position to ensure your back is not tight for an extended amount of time will help alleviate pressure and strain on your back.
Wakeboarding and Waterskiing
Waterskiing and wakeboarding are popular water activities during the summer. Be sure to maintain good form while boarding and skiing to avoid twisting or hunching movements, which can result in back pain. If you are a new water-skier or wakeboarder, it is best to have someone with experience who can provide instruction and demonstrate proper technique. Be sure to ski/board within your limits; going too fast or attempting tricks above your skill level may result in injury. If you happen to fall while out on the water, attempt to fall backwards or sideways and remember to let go of the tow rope as you fall. And, with any water sport, always wear a life-jacket!
On the surface, lounging at the beach seems like a low-impact activity. But, keep in mind, walking for prolonged periods of time in flipflops or similar shoes with little support can trigger back pain. Be sure to bring a pair of supportive shoes with you! Laying out for a majority of the day can also put stress on your spine, increasing the chance of back strain and pain, so be sure to take breaks and adjust your positioning.
Usually the line at the amusement park is worth the wait for the rush of a rollercoaster. Although, standing hunched over in line for hours throughout the day can damage your spine. Be aware of your posture, and make time to sit down and relieve the pressure on your spine. You can also perform low-impact stretches while waiting in line to keep your body moving.
Summertime would not be complete without a travel adventure. However, plane rides and road trips can cause back pain and neck pain as a result of sitting for an extended period of time, placing direct stress on the lower back. Use a pillow or travel cushion to support the contour of your back while sitting in the car or plane, and get up to move around every 30 minutes. Many travelers also experience neck and back pain from lifting or carrying luggage in an unsafe manner. Take care when carrying heavy items and remember – lift with your knees.
Whichever outdoor activities you choose to partake in this summer, make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.
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Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers convenient online scheduling. Click here or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.