Common Causes of Summer Back Injuries – and How to Avoid Them

Summer is synonymous with many welcome things: long-awaited vacations, sunny days spent out on the water, and happy kids at camp, for starters. While we certainly enjoy the advantages of summertime, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the increase in back pain and injuries that coincide with the season.

Between an increase in physical activity, long-distance travel, and changes in the weather and atmospheric pressure, back injuries and discomfort tend to be more prominent for many people this time of year.

Here are a few reasons for the surge in back injuries during the summer – and what you can do to avoid them:

High heat and humidity

With record-breaking heat and Florida’s notorious humidity, there’s more to consider this summer than sunburns and heat exhaustion. Back pain tends to flare up thanks to inflammation caused by the season’s drastic change in temperature. These changes alter the way the tissues in your bones, muscles and tendons contract.

Additionally, heatwaves typically coincide with high humidity levels, which can aggravate inflammation and discomfort – especially for those with existing back conditions such as arthritis or herniated disks.

To manage inflammation and minimize pain, continue to be mindful of your diet and ensure you are properly hydrated. Additionally, you can apply ice or a cold compress to your back to minimize inflammation, and get a back massage to reduce muscle tension and stiffness.

Of course, if you continue to have pain or it worsens, reach out to our team to discuss treatment options.

Long-distance travel

Perhaps everyone’s favorite part of summer is the arrival of highly-anticipated vacations. Whether you’re jet-setting to Italy or embarking on a family road trip, prolonged sitting and lack of movement causes our joints to become stiff and less flexible, weakening back muscles and putting pressure on discs. This happens because lack of movement causes joint compression resulting in reduced blood flow and reduced joint lubrication.

To minimize this discomfort and prevent injuries, take time to get up and stretch your legs and muscles or incorporate light, easy stretches to alleviate stiffness and promote circulation (think gentle ankle rolls, subtle knee lifts, gentle spinal twists and seated forward bends).

Also, be mindful of your luggage – both the weight of it, and how you’ll have to carry it with you – to avoid injuries. Increase your comfort with driving ergonomics and supportive shoes. And, again, stay hydrated!

Physical and outdoor activities

Summer is a joyous time for many who enjoy socializing and engaging in physical activity. From pickleball leagues to water sports, there are plenty of activities that become most popular this time of year.

You don’t want to kick off summer with a muscle strain due to improper form! Take some time to correct your posture, stretch and gradually increase your exercise to protect your spine and muscles. Don’t “overdo it” – pushing yourself too much can lead to wear-and-tear on your joints, causing inflammation and pain. Believe it or not, popular summer sports like golf and pickleball are driving up disc injuries and muscle strains that exacerbate back and neck pain, while boating and tubing can also inflict pain.

Home improvement and yard work

Summer yard work and home improvement projects often equate to increased back pain, thanks to repetitive motions including lifting, digging and bending, leaving little room for your spine to decompress. Sudden movements can cause severe pain and injuries that can affect you for the rest of the season.

Remember to take frequent breaks, and stand up straight and stretch every hour. It’s also recommended that you have someone present with you to provide assistance if you suffer an injury or intense pain.

Make the most of summer

By following our tips and remaining mindful of how you treat your back and body this summer, you can reap the season’s health benefits. Remember: prevention is key to ensuring a painless summer. Listen to your body – stay hydrated, keep stretching, take breaks, and address any pain right away. Now, get out there and enjoy your summer!

Have you experienced pain or developed an injury this summer? Our team of board-certified providers are here to help. Schedule your consultation today at (561) 495-9511 or fill out our form.