It’s summertime! Time to enjoy the nice weather, vacations, and outdoor activities. However, just like winter, summer comes with it’s own risks for back pain and injury. Luckily, there are lots of ways to avoid and manage back pain while still getting to enjoy that beautiful summer weather and all the hobbies and activities that we love. Here are 4 tips to keep back pain at bay this summer:
Be Aware of What You’re Packing
One of the best parts of summer is being able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather by going on day trips. Hiking at your favorite conservation area, a trip to the zoo or spending a day at the amusement park; what all these have in common is having to pack all your essentials to carry with you throughout the day.
If you’re spending the day carrying around a bag of snacks, sunscreen, water bottles, etc you need to ensure that you’re using the right bag to help you avoid back pain. A backpack that fits snug to your back with adjustable straps and that can be secured across your chest is one of the best options for easing the demand all your essentials will have on you throughout the day. Additionally, try taking “shifts” when it comes to carrying all the group’s essentials or divide everything you need for the day into multiple bags that can each be carried by a member of the group.
When you’re wearing a backpack or bag, be mindful of how you’re bending and twisting throughout the day – you’re carrying extra weight – which means more risk of strain and injury. If you have little ones, making use of their stroller or wagon can be a blessing for a long day at the zoo – store the heavier items like water bottles on the stroller or in the wagon to alleviate some of the weight you have to carry around.
Use the Good Weather to Get Active!
Many of us tend to let our exercise regime fall by the wayside during the cold, winter months. Now that it’s summer and we have plenty of warm, sunny days, get active! If you’ve been mostly sedentary for a few months, ensure that you start slow and slowly work your way back up to your usual fitness level to avoid injury.
What can you do to get active during the summer? Lots of things! You don’t just have to run, hike or bike to be active outdoors – though they’re great options if you enjoy them – things like gardening can also be good exercise. Whatever you choose to do, ensure you’re easing into activity safely, and with the proper equipment (running shoes, knee pads for gardening, etc).
Make Use of Hydrotherapy and Keep Up With Appointments
If you struggle with chronic back pain no matter the season or you overdid it on the gardening, make use of hydrotherapy to manage your pain and inflammation. It’s often thought that heat is the best way to address back pain, and for some that may be the case, but applying cold – especially in the warm summer months – can be both refreshing and pain-relieving. You can even try alternating hot and cold.
In addition to hydrotherapy, make sure you’re keeping up with your regular chiropractic, physiotherapy, or massage appointments at KinFix Health or your local complementary health clinic. Vacations, day trips and general changes to our schedules in the summer months can make it easy to let our regular maintenance appointments shift to the back burner, but the best way to prevent and treat your back pain is by seeing your manual health practitioner.
Be Smart About Summer Sports
Rollerblading, swimming, soccer, golf, watersports – summer has some of the best sports! While it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun you’re having, ensure you’re being safe while enjoying your favorite sports this summer.
Remember to stretch before and after practice or that game of golf, wear the appropriate footwear while on the soccer field, and don’t go overboard on those extreme watersports! Just because you’re enjoying some summer fun with your friends and family, doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself.
When you’re out enjoying the summer activities that you love, remember that pain and injury don’t take a vacation. Be mindful of how your summertime activities can affect your back pain and ensure you’re maintaining your regular manual therapy appointments to stay on top of prevention and any injuries that may occur. But most of all – get out there and enjoy the sun!