Spring in New England means time to get outdoors. How do you enjoy the sunny days of spring? Do you like to get active with sports? Or relax by planting some flowers in your garden? Whatever you like to do, here are some ways you can protect your back in the process:
Body mechanics describes the ways we move as we go about our daily lives. Poor body mechanics are often the cause of injuries. When we don't move correctly or safely, the spine is subjected to abnormal stresses, that over time can lead to degeneration of spinal structures like discs and joints, injury, and unnecessary wear and tear.
Spending a day tending to your yard in the fresh air sounds like a dream, but if you're not careful, it could be a nightmare for your body. The time spent bending over can cause a great deal of discomfort, so be sure to pace yourself and take breaks. If you need to be close to your project, kneel and use a pad to reduce the pressure on your knees. If you suffer from chronic pain, it might be a good idea to invest in raised beds so you don't have to bend or kneel for long periods of time.
This tradition is great for relieving winter time blues and preparing for the sunshine ahead, but it can also be tough on your body. Trying to reach those tricky spots by kneeling, bending and reaching can put strain on your muscles and joints. To avoid that pain, follow these basic safety rules by:
- Bend at your knees, and not at the waist
- Never reach or lean too far in any direction
- Warm up beforehand by stretching and take frequent breaks throughout
Whether you're a beginner or training for an upcoming marathon, it's always wise to be aware of how you're treating your body. Wearing shoes that don't fit properly or aren't supportive enough can lead to a stress fracture in your spine. So be sure to wear the right running shoes. Beginning runners should pace themselves and start slowly. You should always stretch before a run, listen to your body, and if something hurts or doesn't feel right, seek medical advice.
Sports are great warm weather pastimes, but before you start to swing away, there are some safety tips you should know. Warming up before you play is essential. Take a few minutes to stretch your shoulders, back and legs to prep your muscles before any activity. You should also practice good form. For sports, such as tennis, avoid arching your back too much and instead bend at your knees and raise your heels to support your upper body weight. For any sport, you should work on building up your core strength to reduce the risk of injury.
- Increases core body temperature
- Increase blood flow to the muscles
- Stimulates the nervous system and activates muscle groups
- Improves joint mobility and flexibility
- Increases coordination and balance
- Reinforces proper movement patterns
Don't Assume You're Invincible
If you are active on a regular basis, you're most likely going to get at least one injury this year. It's better to assume that you will get injured so you'll be more aware when your body is signaling that something is wrong. Those who think they won't get injured will often ignore injury warning signs, push through pain, and end up making injuries worse.
Visit our website for therapeutic exercises and stretches that will help to keep your body in motion.
If you're experiencing pain after any of these activities, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lehane today.
Bowman, J., & Cherney, K. (2017, January 24). Essential Stretches for Runners. Retrieved from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/...
Ryan Stevens, M. A. (2013, August 13). 4 key components of a successful dynamic warm up. Retrieved from Sports Medicine foe the Masses: http://sportsmedforthemasses.com/dynamic-warm-up-k...