When it’s warmer outside, it is natural to spend more time being active outside. Along with all of the benefits of sunshine, fresh air and exercise, warm weather also brings more opportunities to tweak or injure the spine.Here are some tips to protect your neck and spine while still enjoying the outdoors and all the activity it brings.
Taking the transition gradually
When returning to warm-weather activities, make sure you start slow. For example, if you’re doing yard work, try to limit yourself to working only an hour or two the first day, instead of spending the entire day, trying to get everything done. If needed, continue the work the next day or next weekend. As you gradually build up strength and endurance again, listen to your body and adjust workloads accordingly.
Take care while traveling
Traveling means sitting in a car, plane, or train for prolonged periods of time. This can cause neck and back pain. If possible, try to break up long trips with a rest stop every hour or two to get out and stretch; or if you’re on a plane or train, get up and stretch, or walk the aisle every few hours.
Make sure you also consider sleeping arrangements. If you are camping, and sleeping on the ground, consider a portable air mattress to help, or pick a campsite that offers cottages with beds. For trips that require a lot of driving, consider bringing a u-shaped pillow to prevent your head from tilting at a sharp angle and stressing your cervical spine.
Be careful in the water
Who doesn’t like to be by the water on a hot day? But, don’t lose sight of safety. Make sure areas are monitored by lifeguards and don’t dive into shallow water, this can result in a serious cervical spine injury from hitting your head.