Summer is a time for swimming, travel, and get-togethers with family and friends. The last thing you want is for your back pain to throw a wrench into everything.
Try these 6 suggestions to enjoy the great outdoors without the hassles:
- Warm up first. If you haven't been active lately, it's best to start gradually. Do some slow stretches or take a short walk before joining that basketball game or digging up those overgrown bushes you've been meaning to get to.
- Make a splash. Water's buoyancy is a boon for your back. It not only eases lower back compression, it allows greater range of motion without the risk of falling. Warm water has the added benefit of relieving stiffness and relaxing tight muscles, which can aggravate back pain.
- Skip the flip-flops. Flip-flops and flats offer little support, putting stress on your back. Sandals can be a better way to keep cool. Look for styles that hold your feet securely—no slipping from side to side or forward and back.
- Pace yourself. It's easy to overdo it when you're enjoying a summer day. Low-impact exercises such as walking and bicycling are good options, but you may need to take a lot of breaks if you've been sedentary. Remember that any exercise is better than none, and don't try to push past the pain.
- Be prepared when you travel. Whether you're driving or flying, bring along an extra seat cushion, a disposable heat patch, or an instant cold pack in case your pain flares up. If you're headed to another state, keep any opioid painkillers in their original prescription containers. (State laws on opioids vary.) Pack a little extra medication in case your return is delayed. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules on flying with medications are outlined and the TSA answers questions on Facebook’s messaging service.
- Stay hydrated. Getting enough water is important for your overall health, and your spine is no exception. Spinal discs need to be well-hydrated to stay strong and flexible, so keep that water bottle in reach.
A little planning ahead can help things go more smoothly this summer, despite your back pain.