Summer is a wonderful time of year, but it can also present unique challenges for your spine. We tend to be more active or take long road trips in the summer, and those are just a few of the ways our spines can get out of sync. Below, we take a look at four summer health hazards for your spine, and how you can protect your back this season.
Summer Spine Hazards
Here are four ways the summer season can jeopardize your spine health, and how you can stay healthy all summer long.
1. Travel – With summer comes summer road trips. Whether you’re driving up to the cabin or doing a cross country road trip, odds are you’ll be spending a long time in the car at one point. Some tips to consider if you’re going to be in a car for a long period and you have a preexisting spine condition include:
- Grab a pillow or small towel to place behind your back to help shift your spine into a healthy position.
- Stock up on your prescriptions if you’re going to be gone for a while.
- Leave early so you have time to get out and stretch if your back is feeling stiff.
- Have your seatback upright and supporting your spine.
- Get up and move around at any pit stops, as this will help get blood flowing to your spine.
2. Sleeping – If you’re like most people, you try to live without the air conditioning running all night if you can. However, warmer temperatures in the bedroom can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Sleep is a restorative process for your brain and spine, and if you’re not getting enough good sleep, you may notice the onset of inflammation in your spine. When possible, try to sleep in cool and completely dark bedrooms (turn off the TV and put the iPad away) in order to best fall asleep and stay asleep.
3. Summer Sports – Summer is a great time to get outside and play a sport or a pickup game with some friends. The good thing is that in warm temperatures, your muscles are naturally more ready to go from a passive to active state. That being said, if you jump into activity without warming up, you can expose yourself to muscle strains or back spasms. Always make sure you stretch and stay hydrated if you want to keep your back healthy when playing sports this summer.
4. Yard Work – After a wet spring, your yard probably needs some TLC. Whether that’s in the form of regular mowing, pulling weeds or gardening, your spine can take the brunt of the stress if you don’t lift, carry and twist with the right techniques. Always be sure to bend at the knees, not at the waist, and find another person to perform a tandem lift if you’re going to be moving a heavy object. If you have to go up on a ladder to clean windows or clear out the gutters, be sure you have someone to secure the ladder so you don’t fall and land on your back. Be mindful of your spine when working in the yard this summer.
For more tips on keeping your spine healthy this year, or to reach out to Dr. Chang about a spine condition you are dealing with, click here to contact his office today.