Summer presents an opportunity to get out and soak up the sunshine. While a dose of sun is great for brightening mood and staying physically active, it is important to be aware this is also a season known for increasing back pain. For this reason, Los Angeles spine surgeons suggest taking measures that prevent the following summer hazards from interfering with your chance to enjoy some seasonal fun.
1. Wearing Flat-Soled Shoes
Flip-flops or sandals may give a breezy summer dress or shorts a fashionable look, but these shoes are the worst type of footwear for people living with back pain because arch support is important for keeping the spine in proper alignment. Loose-fitting sandals may also cause you to curl your toes to keep the shoes on as you walk, which also leads to stress on the spine. It is important to make sure the shoes you wear have some cushioning to absorb the forces that occur every time you take a step. While heels and platform shoes also pose a hazard for back health, flat shoes or shoes with very little sole are best to be avoided. Instead, choose shoes that fit your feet well and have a cushioned base, such as sneakers. If you have severe back pain, you may also want to look into having your shoes properly fitted with an arch support system designed to help with your specific type of back problem.
2. Sitting or Standing for Prolonged Periods
Summer events are a great reason to get out and mingle, but they can also create situations where you are forced to put too much strain on your back. For instance, sitting for a few hours to watch a baseball game may cause lower back pain for days after the event. When planning outings, make sure there will be plenty of opportunities to alternate between sitting and standing as needed. Sitting and standing at different intervals prevents you from being in one position for too long. It can also be helpful to bring cushioned pads and folding chairs to events where you may be expected to sit because they can alleviate some of the pressure on your spine.
3. Enjoying Outdoor Activities
Getting outside and enjoying your favorite seasonal activities is a wonderful way to keep physically fit. However, many summer sports and activities can lead to increased back pain. Be careful not to overload your backpack if you enjoy hiking, and take short breaks during sporting events. Do stretches before any strenuous activities so your back muscles and ligaments stay limber. Learning how to enjoy your favorite activities safely can help you keep your body in shape so you experience less back pain over time. If you’re living with chronic back pain that isn’t going away, there are many ways to find relief, including spinal fusion procedures and various back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles patients can call The Spine Institute at 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.