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.
Water therapy is a great low impact aerobic exercise to help alleviate back pain during the summer months.
See Water Therapy Exercise Program
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.
Watch Video: Why is Exercise Important for Lower Back Pain?
- 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.
See Water Therapy Exercises
- 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.
See Why Flip-Flops Are Bad for Your Sciatica
Cushioning is also important. Soles with a shock-absorbing material such as cork are likely to be easier on your back than a rubber sole. Sandals designed for outdoor sports, hiking, or river rafting are often more stable and have better arch support than other sandals. If you've still got your heart set on shoes that provide little support, do your back a favor and wear them only on special occasions.
- 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.
See Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
- 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.
See Taking Painkillers? Plan Ahead Before You Travel
- 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.
See Lifestyle and Diet Tips for Healthy Bones
A little planning ahead can help things go more smoothly this summer, despite your back pain.