Back pain is a shockingly common problem. Up to 85 percent of the population will suffer with lower back pain (LBP) at some point and 10 percent of those cases become chronic. Don’t let back pain ruin your summer fun. Consider the following tips to help avoid back pain with summer activities.
Posture is the most important factor in avoiding back injury. This does not mean simply to “stand up straight.” Maintaining proper posture through daily activities has been shown to be preventive of many types of back and neck pain. Posture-oriented chiropractors assess posture by assessing the position of the pelvis relative to the feet, the torso relative to the pelvis, and the head relative to the torso. Misalignments of spinal and pelvic bones commonly cause posture problems. Consult a chiropractor for a thorough spine and posture evaluation so that you can enjoy summer activities free from back pain and other injuries.
Exercise is critical to prevention of all types of back pain because joints and muscles require motion to be healthy. Even people with previous spinal injuries or episodes of discomfort can benefit because regular exercise has been shown to help prevent relapses. Exercise that involves movements opposite to the positions the spine can be particularly helpful. When there are posture problems, chiropractors often design postural-mirror-imaged exercise programs for their patients.
Core stability is particularly important in developing a strong back. The “core” muscles which must be trained and strengthened are especially those muscles in the abdominal region and the back. Strong and well-balanced core muscles have been shown to help prevent injury from such summertime activities as swinging a baseball bat or pushing a lawn mower.
Golfers commonly incur back injury because of the rotary stress placed on the spine during the club swing. Research demonstrates that even a good swing often pulls heavily on the lumbar region of the spine, especially during follow-through. To prevent injury, core strengthening is very important for golfers and others participating in activities with repetitive or strenuous torso rotation. Also, the common habit of carrying the golf bag over one shoulder can trigger back injury; use of a pull cart or adding a special strap which spreads the bag’s weight across the entire back can help to prevent such injury. More than half of golfers in one recent study reported having received chiropractic care and the vast majority of those golfers who received chiropractic care reported being satisfied with the results of their treatment. Golfers should consider using chiropractic care for treatment and prevention of back pain.
Tennis involves biomechanical stresses that have been shown to cause posture abnormality and muscle imbalance in the lower back. Again, research demonstrates that strengthening the core (abdominal and lower back muscles) can prevent tennis-related back injuries.
Swimming, the quintessential summer leisure activity and an excellent conditioning exercise, has been shown to actually prevent lower back pain. One study sought to determine if lower back pain is more associated with certain sports including running, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, badminton, handball and swimming. The study followed 640 schoolchildren involved with these activities into adulthood. The researchers concluded that swimming was the only one of these sports that was preventive of back pain. So jump on in … the water’s fine and it’s good for you!
Get out and enjoy the summer, but be safe and use these tips to avoid back pain all summer long.
Dr. R. Todd Shaver is a chiropractic physician at Shaver Chiropractic & Natural Medicine. As a distinguished fellow of chiropractic biophysics, Dr. Shaver utilizes spinal adjustment and other chiropractic physical medicine procedures to address injury and pain and to promote wellness. He is Wilmington’s only chiropractic physician to have achieved specialty status (D.I.C.C.P.) in chiropractic pediatrics and prenatal care. To learn more, go to www.shavernaturalmedicine.com, call (910) 452-5555, or contact his office at [email protected].
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