Protect Yourself from Summer Back Pain

woman with back pain

Summer is the time when everyone dives into yard work, hits the road for family trips or, in our area, takes advantages of the wonderful hiking and water sport opportunities nearby.

But all that time spent bending, lifting and climbing can strain your back, spine experts say.

An estimated 3.7 million Americans seek care for back pain and injuries at doctors' offices in the summer months, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Many of those back injuries occur during daily activities when sudden movements strain muscles and ligaments.

The AAOS offers these tips to avoid becoming a summertime back injury statistic:

  • Lift heavy items with your legs instead of your back, and don't bend over. Bend your knees instead and keep your back straight.
  • Get someone to help you lift heavy objects. Turn to your friends or family or hire someone to assist.
  • Pack as lightly as possible when traveling, and try to spread heavier items among several boxes or bags.
  • Take breaks, regardless of whether you're sitting or working, and stretch between tasks.
  • Watch your posture and sit with your back in a slightly arched position. Your chair should support your lower back and your head and shoulders should be upright.
  • Be careful about your footwear. Your shoes should fit properly and have rubber non-skid soles to protect you from falling, especially when you're traveling or working outdoors.
  • If you're outside, make sure hoses, rakes and garden tools are out of your path so you don't trip over them.
  • Pets like to be underfoot and can pose a tripping hazard. Consider putting a bell on your pet so you know its location when it's moving around.

If you experience back pain that doesn't resolve with rest and over the counter treatment, contact your doctor.

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