All Season Spinal Health Care
Now that warmer weather is here we all want to get outside and get more active. We need to remember to take good care of our spine. Activities such as sports, gardening, weeding, lawn care, spring cleaning, setting up patio furniture, putting summer stuff away and prepping for winter, and more can come at a cost. Whether you want to start working out or want to tackle that large DIY project, you need to start slow. Overdoing it now can cause back strain and put a quick halt to your plans. Here are some helpful hints to help avoid back pain and injuries this season.
- Ease into it: Remember your back is not used to being hunched over, lifting and bending and being overall stressed. Do no more than one hour of work the first day, then gradually ramp it up to two hours and more.
- Take Breaks: Take frequent water breaks, stay hydrated and take time to rest. Even during cold weather, it is important to stay hydrated. If you are hunched over forward planting a garden, then go inside and lay on your stomach to stretch your abs and hips and give your upper back a break. If you are lifting heavy objects, come inside and lay flat on your back to allow your spine to relax. Contact us for more stretch and relaxation tips!
- Lift Properly: As we have all heard before, let the big muscles do the work. Make sure your back is upright when you lift. Bend at the knees and hips so that you are in a position as if you are going to sit in a chair and hold the object close to your body. This will allow your glutes, quads, hamstrings and deep hip muscles to do the work, helping to keep your spine stabilized. Use your arms and legs to pull, not your back. You might want to squat or sit while weeding and planting. Using a special gardening seat or something similar can help you avoid over flexing your hips.
- Work Smarter not Harder: The less you repeatedly get up and down, the less stress you place on your back, hips and knees. Ask for help if something is too large or heavy for you. Lifting and carrying large bags of mulch, soil or manure can really bring on the back pain. Shovelling snow can be just as stressful to your low back muscles. If you can’t lift a bag in your arms with little exertion then it’s too heavy. If you have a wheel barrow, use that to transport heavy loads back and forth or use a smaller bucket to carry lighter loads for more frequent trips.
- Relax: Now if the time to soak in that bathtub or use the heating pad or let the shower run on your spine. Warmth brings blood flow to the area, making muscles relax, blood vessels dilate and movement better. Stretch, bend to the sides, reach overhead, arch backwards, hunch forward, twist slowly, inhale and exhale and make your body move. This will make you feel better at the time as well as the next day.
A healthy back makes for a happy person. No one wants to be sidelined by back pain and stiffness. Take care of yourself and enjoy this wonderful time of year. If you overdo it we are here to help set things straight again.