Hello everyone! This is Dr. Christopher Stewart at The Wellness Center PDX here in Portland. As the first day of summer fast approaches, I want to tell you about the surprising dangers of certain activities people participate in during the summer months... and how to avoid the likelihood of injury from these activities.
Portland, OR offers so many activities, so it might seem pretty easy to guess which things might cause some back or neck pain. I am not talking about the obvious things here, though. Obviously, the area around Portland offers skydiving, rock-climbing, extreme trampolining, all kinds of sports and variations on sports, Jujitsu gyms, leagues of all kinds, not to mention themed pub crawls, and other creative ways of keeping Portland weird. You would think any of these could make my list... Yes it is important to keep yourself safe and protect your back and neck during these activities... but I am talking about something far more insidious...
BEWARE OF THE DANGERS OF... gardening. ...that seemingly relaxing and chillaxing summer activity that people carelessly turn to without considering the potential unforeseen consequences. Why all the hype about gardening? Because it is one of the number one summertime activities that brings people into our office in pain. It goes something like this, “I don’t know what happened. I was feeling great and went out to do some gardening. The next morning, when I got up my low back hurt really bad.” Why does this happen? Extended periods of squatting, stooping, repetitive motions that include twisting of the low back. So... what should you do? Skip gardening??? Nope... just be very mindful and intentional in your movements. Use proper squatting technique. Don’t do too much twisting. Also, spine health is really important. Exercises that stabilize your spine, as well as specific stretching exercises.
So gardening is number 3 of the top 3 of mundanely dangerous activities that have potential to ruin your summer. What are the other 2 that made the top 3 list?
#2 Vacuuming. Lots of people hurt their back vacuuming. Again, repetitive motions and twisting, combined with a seemingly harmless task lead to muscle strain, misalignment, and pain.
And, last but not least...
#1 Road-trips. Sustained poor posture, sitting for long periods of time on a vibrating surface, and sleeping in uncomfortable positions... all of this can lead to damage of muscles and ligaments, and even exacerbate disc injuries.
There are ways to do these activities more safely. We can help you keep your summer pain-free. Come on in for a consultation.
If not, and you succumb to the dangers of gardening, vacuuming, or road-trips... give us a call so we can get you back on track. Summer is too short to spend much of it in pain!