Back Pain? How to Perform Spring Activities Safely

If winter weather has kept you cooped up inside for months, the first days of spring may have you itching to get outside and enjoy your favorite activities. While there’s certainly no harm in taking advantage of the warmer weather, easing into outdoor activities can save you from developing back pain and incurring injuries. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the warmer weather without sacrificing your back health.

Gardening

Because gardening is a full body exercise, make sure to warm up before heading outside. First, take a couple of minutes to practice some light aerobic exercise such as walking or marching in place. Next, practice a few stretches for your lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, and neck. After you’ve finished stretching, it’s time to gather your tools and head for the dirt.

While working in the garden, be sure to practice proper lifting techniques. Always use your legs to lift heavy objects and be certain to keep your back straight. Bend at the knees as if you are sitting in a chair and always keep the weight as close to your body as possible. It is also a good idea to work within a small area to avoid excessive twisting and reaching. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks, allowing for light stretching and muscle recovery.

Golfing

Before heading onto the course, make sure to perform a light warm-up. Golfing with tight muscles is a recipe for soreness and increases your risk of incurring injury. Simply take a few minutes to perform light aerobic activity and follow it up with stretching for the legs, shoulders and back.

Increasing core strength may also help alleviate any back pain that may occur while playing. Golf requires strong abdominals and often times, those who lack solid core musculature may experience pain during or after a lengthy game. Both Pilates and yoga are great exercises for building core strength and balance and can be incorporated into your weekly exercise routine.

Tennis

Tennis is a full body workout, so performing a proper warm-up is essential. Start by performing a few minutes of light aerobic activity and follow it up with a full body stretching routine. When on the court, one of the most important things to consider is the size of your racquet. The wrong size and weight may lead to shoulder, neck, and upper back problems, so be sure to consult with a professional if you’re unsure about your equipment.

Playing with proper technique will also decrease your chances of developing back pain or incurring injuries. If you’re new to tennis or haven’t played in awhile, be sure to consult with a more experienced player or professional instructor to avoid developing bad habits that may lead to pain down the road.

Running

Before hitting the pavement, make sure to warm up with some light aerobic exercise and a lower body stretching routine. If you haven’t been running due to colder weather, take it slow and pace yourself. Jumping back into your old running routine is likely to shock your body and lead to soreness and fatigue, so train smart and develop a plan. Perhaps most importantly, make sure to wear the proper footwear. You’ll want shoes with plenty of support that can absorb the impact of your feet striking the pavement. If you lack sufficient support, a greater amount of force transfers to your bones and muscles, potentially leading to muscle pain and even stress fractures.

Back pain doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the activities you love as long as you take it slow and gradually increase your activity levels. If your pain persists, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a New Jersey pain expert promptly. The pain experts at Marc Cohen Spine Institute have the experience and resources to identify the pain source and suggest treatment options. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.