10 Tips For Keeping Your Spine Safe During Summer Projects

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Senior Back Pain

Summer is here, and if you’re like us, that means it’s project season when we have a little free time. Whether you plan to build a deck, install new gutters, build a playset for your kids or simply manage your landscaping this summer, all of these physical activities can take a big toll on your spine. In today’s blog, we’re going to spotlight 10 tips for keeping your spine healthy if you’ll be getting a number of projects done this summer.

Spine Safety During Summer Projects

We don’t know exactly what you have in store for your summer projects, so there’s no guarantee all of these tips will be applicable to your specific situation. With that said, these are some pretty standard rules to consider if you’ll be partaking in some manual labor in the summer heat.

  1. Warm Up– Take a few minutes to stretch your body and help prepare it for the activity to come. Jumping right into physically stressful activities can increase your risk for injury if your muscles and ligaments aren’t ready for this strain. Help them make the transition from inactive to active state by warming up a bit.
  2. Stay Hydrated– Your spinal muscles work better when you are appropriately hydrated, so drink plenty of water when you’re outside in the heat. Your back and your whole body will function better when you’re replacing the water you’re losing through sweat.
  3. Height Safety– If you’ll be working on a roof or a ladder, make sure that you take some precautions to avoid a devastating fall. Every year thousands of people fall off ladders or roofs and end up in the emergency room with a severe head or neck injury. Wear safety harnesses or have someone below to support your ladder.
  4. Proper Lifting Posture– If you’ll be moving cement pavers or other heavy landscaping equipment, make sure you’re practicing proper lifting techniques. Bend at the knees, not at the waist and don’t quickly twist your spine to throw an object in one direction. Shuffle your feet and place the object down in front of you instead of torqueing your spine.
  5. Tandem Lifts– Similarly, if something is too heavy for you to move by yourself, get a friend to help you move it. Heavy and awkward lifts can overstress your spine or lead to a slip and fall, so grab a buddy when something requires a tandem lift.
  6. Break Up The Work– Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you don’t need to expect to finish all your summer projects in one day either. Break up the physical labor over the course of a number of days or weeks so that you don’t overstress your spine in too short of a period.
  7. Treat Small Injuries– If you pull a muscle or tweak something in your back, don’t just push through the discomfort. Continuing to stress your back will not make your injury go away, and in fact it’s much more likely to make the problem worse. When injury strikes, take a little time to rest and then proactively help the injury heal.
  8. Avoid The Hottest Parts Of The Day– Wake up a little earlier so that you can get most of your work done before the hottest part of the day, which is usually between 1-4pm. This can help limit the physical toll the weather adds to your work.
  9. Wear The Right Clothes For The Job– Wear clothes that are appropriate for the work you’ll be doing. Safety gear is a must for some jobs, but you also want to pay attention to what type of shoes you’ll be wearing. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive, as this will help to take some stress off your spine.
  10. Proactive Recovery– Don’t just sit on the couch after a long day in the sun. Give your body the nutrients it needs to replenish after a hard day’s work. Eat a range of healthy foods, consume plenty of water and seek to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep so that your body can recover from the stress of the day.

If you keep these tips in mind and trust your spine care to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute, we’re confident you’ll have a productive and healthy summer. For more tips, or to talk to a specialist about your spine issue, reach out to our clinic today at (651) 430-3800.

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