Summertime brings family vacations, moving to a new home and backyard projects. Unfortunately, these common summer activities can lead to back injuries. In fact, millions of people head to the doctor’s office during the summer months for back pain and back injuries.
Sudden movements while bending, lifting and twisting often cause back injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
“Always be mindful of the way you’re positioning your body and practice safe lifting techniques during these motions,” said AAOS spokesperson Afshin Razi, MD, an orthopaedic spine specialist. Keep the core muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible. Strengthening your core muscles will help to support your spine.”
Help protect yourself and your family this summer by following this advice from the AAOS to prevent back injuries:
- Use proper lifting techniques when moving heavy objects such as luggage and furniture.Be sure to lift heavy items with your legs, not your back. Position yourself close to the object you want to lift. Do not bend over to pick up heavy items. Keep your back straight and bend at your knees.
- Get help. Do not attempt to lift or move heavy objects on your own. Get help from family, friends or hire someone to help you.
- Use smart packing techniques and pack lightly. When possible, place heavier items in a few smaller bags or boxes instead of one large item.
- Take breaks.If you’re traveling, be sure to give yourself a break from sitting in the same position for too long. The same goes for doing a chore. Make time to stretch in between tasks.
- Maintain good posture.Maintain good posture throughout your flight or car ride.
When sitting, keep your back in a normal, slightly arched position. Make sure your chair supports your lower back. Keep your head and shoulders upright.
- Minimize falls.
- Wear properly fitting shoes with rubber, non-skid soles. This is important for both traveling or working outdoors, as certain shoes increase your chances of falling.
- If you’re working outdoors, secure hoses, rakes and other garden tools from your workspace to avoid tripping over those objects.
- Pets want to enjoy the outdoor weather just as much as you do. When doing projects outdoors with pets, consider placing a bell on your pet so you can locate them easily and know when they are near your feet to minimize a potential tripping hazard.
Source: AAOS news release
+ Learn about The Spine Center of Hampton Roads which helps patients of all ages with back and neck pain. Our specialists use X-ray, MRI, CT, bone scan and other advanced diagnostic tools to evaluate each patient’s individual needs. Physical therapy is available at Bon Secours In Motion Physical Therapy locations throughout Hampton Roads.