The summer is finally here - a time to enjoy friends, family, and the beautiful warm weather. Unfortunately, hot summer months can take a toll on back and neck pain, increasing already bothersome symptoms. Gardening, traveling, exercising, and participating in sports are all common summer activities that can increase back pain. However, physical movement is not the only reason for seasonal pain.
Patients often report that their pain levels change depending on the weather; this includes factors like heat, humidity, and barometric pressure. This is not a coincidence. Pain is commonly associated with changes in factors like these. Therefore, when humidity and activity combine, this can create worsening pain issues. It is impossible to control the weather, but we can still use the warm climate to rehabilitate our spines.
Gentle exercises are an excellent way to decrease spinal pain and keep your joints from getting aggravated. Take advantage of the warm months and get outside. Bike, hike, walk, or swim laps! Soon you’ll be able to watch these gentle practices help your back pain decrease.
Hydration plays a significant role in pain. The spine's spongy discs need water to maintain flexibility during the summer heat. Hydrate more as heat and your activity levels increase. When exercising, drink an 8-ounce glass of water every two hours throughout the day.
Diet and nutrition can also greatly affect back pain. It's easy to grab some fast food or enjoy more ice cream during the busy summer months. However, these types of foods can increase inflammation and cause flare-ups in pain. During these warm long days, focus on eating various fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Proper nutrition can lower back and neck pain and inflammation just as much as hydration and exercising can.
When all of these healthy habits are combined, your summer back pain could improve tremendously and make these warm months as fun and enjoyable as you remember them to be! Put your health first by drinking plenty of water, eating good food, getting your body moving, and reaching out to the Spine Clinic of OKC for any and all of your spine needs.
The Spine Clinic of Oklahoma City offers total spine care to provide nonsurgical treatment plans alongside minimally invasive spinal surgery. Don't let the summer heat stop you from enjoying an active life.
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery, a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery, and is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.