By Chandra Moore, PTA
Summer is upon us and we will soon be enjoying long days at the ballpark, road trips with the family and never ending yard work. While many summer activities are great fun, they can put us at risk of injuring our back. Below you will find common activities that may cause back pain or injury and how to avoid it.
Sitting for extended periods whether in a car, plane or at a ballgame can cause back stiffness and pain. Try sitting up tall with good posture while in your seat. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and chin pulled in. Roll up a small towel or pillow and place it at the small of your back to help maintain a neutral spine. When traveling by plane, or sitting on the bleachers, stand up and walk every 30 minutes or so; if traveling by car, try stopping every two hours so you can get out and stretch. Every time you get up for a standing break, place your hands on your hips and lean back 5-10 times before sitting back down.
Working on having the best lawn on the block? The repeated bending and stooping when picking weeds or planting flowers and strain of lifting heavy bags of soil or mulch is another way we can cause undue pain or injury to the back. If you plan on spending the day manicuring your lawn, perform a few stretches first. Lie on your stomach and press your chest away from the ground, or stand and place hands on your hips and lean back a few times. Squat and maintain good posture while lifting heavy items out of your vehicle, and do the same when lowering them to the ground. Instead of bending, squat or kneel to pick weeds and plant flowers. If you find yourself stooping or bending for long periods, take some time to stand up, place hands on your hips and lean back a few times.
Whether sitting for extended periods, lifting heavy loads or repeatedly bending and stooping forward, it is important to maintain proper lifting mechanics, good posture and spine mobility. Take standing rest breaks as often as possible and stretch the spine by lying on your stomach and pressing up or standing with hands on the hips and leaning back. Following these tips will help decrease the risk for back pain or injury and allow you to enjoy summer activities all season.