Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How NOT to Hurt Your Back This Summer/Fall

Keeping your back in good health is extremely important. You need to take care of it all year long.

However, during the summer, and even as it cools down into fall, you are probably doing more outdoor activities – such as water sports, exercise, athletics, and gardening. This is the time when we see more back injuries than any other time of year. Of course, you don’t have to avoid these activities, but you can still avoid hurting your back in the process.

One of the most important actions you can take is to warm up and stretch your muscles before starting any activity. Gardening probably does not top the list of activities that you think would hurt you, but you should take a few moments to stretch before you begin. A few simple stretches will help get you ready for your yard work. Bend down and try to touch your toes and do some back muscle stretches. You use a lot of muscles when you are pulling weeds, mowing, or a variety of other common yard-related activities. Most importantly, you should wear a back support if you are doing any heavy lifting.

Do you enjoy water sports? These are another potential hazard for your back. The water supplies a constant resistance when you are moving around in it, so you wind up using many of your muscle groups in the process. One of the biggest aquatic culprits is any type of skiing. You are being pulled out of the water by a rope or some other method, which takes a lot of strength from all of your muscle groups – especially your back and arms. Many people experience back pain in this situation.

There are many types of sports that you may be involved in during the summer months. The best way to keep your back healthy and pain free is to try not to overdo your activities and never start without warming up first. Most pain that is associated with your back comes from muscle tension. A muscle spasm can be extremely painful, and can last for days. Muscle spasms can be caused by a misaligned spine. Regular visits for chiropractic care can relieve (and help you to avoid) back pain. Spinal adjustments by a chiropractor – along with heat therapy and massage therapy – can help you maintain good back health.

One more thing to consider to keep your back healthy, that you can do yourself: Watch your posture. Always keep your back straight, whether you are standing or sitting. Some of us tend to slouch forward when we are on our computers, watching television and other activities that you do while sitting. You might even consider purchasing some kind of lumbar support for your chair if you spend a lot of time at a desk, such as at work. You should also try to maintain a strong core, in order to better support your back. There is not one practice, but many together, which will help you maintain good back health.

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