3 Reasons Your Back Pain May Be Worse This Summer (And What To Do)

Who knew that summer was back pain season? But anyone who’s had a sore back after a day filled with yard work, or stiffness from a bad night’s sleep knows this to be true. So is it your imagination, or do the summer months really lead to more back pain?

Well, thanks to the combination of hot temperatures, high humidity levels and changes in barometric pressure, back pain actually is more likely. But it isn’t just weather that’s to blame, dehydration and common exercise mistakes come in to play as well.

However, with these simple tips from Bethwel Raore, MD, a neurosurgeon with GMC’s Back Pain Center, you’ll be able to stay pain free all summer long.

Humidity & Barometric Pressure

While it may seem surprising that changes in weather could cause back pain, even slight changes in humidity and barometric pressure create changes throughout our bodies, especially joints.

Baroreceptors, sensors within our vascular system that help regulate blood pressure, are often triggered by changes in barometric pressure. This can increase the sensation of back pain. 

So before a summer storm, when humidity is high and barometric pressure is low, you are likely to feel an increase in tightness and stiffness in all joints, especially your back.

Heat & Dehydration

For some, the warmer temperatures of the summer months are enough to increase back pain. This is often due to increased sweating and fluid loss, which can lead to dehydration if your body’s fluids aren’t replenished.

Dehydration impacts the lubrication of joints throughout the body. For your back, this may mean inflammation and amplified pain.

Summer Exercise Mistakes

The sunshine filled days of summer make everyone want to get outside and be active. Unfortunately, not all activities are created equal when it comes to your back. While some activities can be soothing, others may only make back pain worse.

One example is sit-ups. This go-to, core strengthening exercise may actually be one of the roughest exercises for your spine. The upward motion forces a rounding of the spine which leaves your back to do the brunt of the work.

The same can be said for running and jogging. As a high-impact exercise, running can be very jarring to the entire back. Because it involves repetitive stress and impact, conditions like muscle strain and other forms of back pain are compounded.

Soothing Summer Exercises

·         Contrary to the popular belief that rest is best for back pain, too much rest can actually exacerbate symptoms by weakening your muscles and slowing recovery. By staying active with the right kind of exercises and activities, you can accelerate healing and minimize pain.

·         One of the best forms of exercise for back pain is swimming, or any form of water aerobics. Not only does swimming offer the ideal environment, one that is supportive and resistant, it also supports an aerobic workout that increases blood flow to your back muscles.

·         Walking is also a great form of exercise to strengthen and support back health. Not only is it low-impact, it also supports your back’s stability and healthy circulation. And with the beautiful summer weather, you can soak up the sunshine and enjoy an endorphin boost.

·         As an exercise that combines both stability and flexibility, yoga is another great form of exercise to help heal and prevent back pain. In fact, many of the stretches in yoga help to strengthen the core muscles, which are essential for good posture and good back health.

Keep Your Cool

The Back Pain Center at Gwinnett Medical Center takes all the guess work out of where to start and where to get answers about back pain. This comprehensive program provides a streamlined process to care for your back making the process faster and more convenient. It’s time you get back to what you enjoy doing. Learn more by coming to our free Back Pain Informational Breakfast on May 17. To register, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/backpainrsvp.

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