Feb 10, 2015

Summer is a time to get outside and enjoy some fun in the sun. But outdoor exercise, yard work and even those much-needed family vacations can be hard on your back. Remembering a few simple tips can help you to avoid injuring your back or neck during this time of increased activity.


Golf, swimming, softball, gardening, biking and hiking sound like fun until you push yourself too hard.

  • Start slow. Many people increase their level of physical activity during the summer months, but if you haven’t been maintaining a fitness routine all along, jumping into it can be harmful. Start slowly and build up your strength and endurance. Don’t over-do it and end up with an injury. Ideally, you want to develop a year-round workout routine including a stretching program.
  • Rotate your activities from ones that may put strain on your back to ones that don’t. For example, biking and golfing can be strenuous to your lower back; so alternate those types of activities with one like swimming. Be sure to properly warm up and cool down as well.


One downside of those family vacation road trips is back pain, but Spine-Health.com offers some tips that can help you avoid spending your vacation in pain.

  • If your car seat is uncomfortable, roll up a towel or place a cushion or pillow between your lower back and the seat for more support. There are also cushions and pillows specially designed for sciatica, the neck, lumbar spine, bottom and full body that you can purchase to alleviate your back pain. Don’t sit on your wallet, cell phone or anything else that may throw your spine out of whack.
  • Reduce reaching, which places more stress on the lumbar spine, neck, shoulder and wrists, by sitting as close to the steering wheel as possible without compromising your safety.
  • Sit up straight with your knees slightly higher than your hips, and keep your chin pulled in.
  • Since staying still is bad for your back, don’t just pick a position and stay in it. Adjust your seat and make slight adjustments to your position every 15-20 minutes.


It’s no fun to be stuck on a plane when you are in pain. Here are some tips to make your trip more pleasant.

  • Supporting your lower back with a back roll or asking the flight attendant for a couple of pillows is a good way to prevent slouching that may lead to back pain and keep your spine straight.
  • Bring a neck pillow for neck support. Back braces, tube-shaped pillows and other items to help passengers avoid back pain can also be purchased inexpensively at most airports.
  • If your legs are not positioned at a right angle when you are seated, ask for pillows or blankets to prop up your feet and keep your knees at a right angle. Doing so keeps stress off the lower back.
  • If you have long legs, request an exit row or bulkhead seat, which generally has more legroom.
  • Once your flight is underway, get up, move and stretch as much as possible.

Summer is fun but not if you spend it in pain. Keeping these simple tips in mind can make your summer activities more enjoyable and ensure that your vacation is memorable in a good way.