Avoiding Back Pain During March Madness

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 25, 2019


March Madness kicked off last week, and if you enjoyed watching the Gophers and a bunch of other games over the weekend, you might be surprised how sore you feel today. Sinking into your couch for a long weekend to watch the games can be fun, but it also can be a recipe for back pain. With four more days of basketball coming up this week, you’re going to want to be a little more proactive about how you watch the games so you’re not battling back pain come Monday morning. Below, we share some tips for getting through March madness without spine pain.

Preventing Back Pain While Watching Sports

March madness is unique in that it’s an all-day event as the teams get whittled down to the final four, so it’s easy to see how you can spend hours on hours watching games. Here are some tips to keep in mind during your marathon watch sessions to help you avoid spine pain.

  1. Activity – Find some time to be active throughout the day. Go for a run before the games start, or play some pickup basketball with friends at halftime. On a smaller scale, be sure that you get up and move around for 5-10 minutes every hour or so. This will help muscles avoid becoming overstressed, and it will help facilitate healthy blood flow throughout your body. Otherwise, make a game out of it yourself. Stand up until the next timeout, or stand up for the final five minutes of the game. Do something to avoid staying seated for hours at a time.
  2. Food Choices – Your diet doesn’t go out the window when the tournament is on, so don’t make a habit of eating wings and nachos while watching games. Aside from leading to excess weight, which in turn puts more stress on your back, junk foods contribute to the onset of spinal inflammation, which can compress key structures in your back. A healthy diet and exercise can help keep inflammation at bay, so while you can indulge here or there, be sure you’re making some healthy choices while watching the games.
  3. Chair Awareness – If you’re like me, you probably have a favorite seat in your house to watch the games. Unfortunately, these worn in spots on the couch or favorite armchairs may not be the best for our spines. Make sure you have proper lumbar support when you’re seated, otherwise you’re going to be channeling excess stress to your lower spine. Grab a supportive chair or be cognizant of your posture when watching the games, or better yet, watch while standing or walking on a treadmill!
  4. Tobacco and Alcohol – Finally, both tobacco and alcohol can lead to a number of different spine problems. Tobacco damages blood vessels and can contribute to the thinning of spinal discs, while alcohol can cause spinal inflammation and similar disc issues. Make some healthy choices when watching the games, because making these lifestyle choices a habit will almost certainly cause spinal issues down the road.

If you keep these tips in mind when watching games this week, we’re confident your spine will look a whole lot better than your bracket when the tournament is over! For all your spinal needs in the Twin Cities, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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