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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Is Your Spine Ready for Summer?

by Dr. Gina Marino

You may be ready to welcome summer, but is your back prepared? Taking a few precautions now, such as visiting your chiropractor, will help ensure you’re ready to enjoy all the fun the season offers.

Is Your Spine Properly Aligned?

If not, you might be at risk for back pain. Summer is the perfect time to try a new hobby or sport, transform your yard into a gardener’s paradise, or brush up on your tennis, pickleball or golf skills. Unfortunately, the summer activities you enjoy can create trouble for your back, particularly if you haven’t been very active during the winter.

It’s impossible to completely prevent injuries, but you can reduce your risk of back pain if your spine is properly aligned. Inactivity, poor posture, falls, sports injuries, and even stress can cause subluxations in your spine. Subluxations occur when one or more vertebrae become misaligned. The vertebrae are the small bones that protect your spinal cord and allow you to stand upright, bend, twist and move easily.

Back pain and stiffness are common symptoms of subluxations, but they’re not the only problems a misaligned vertebra can cause. Subluxations can press on nerves, causing or increasing pain in your back, neck, arms, buttocks or legs. They can also interfere with the normal function of your organs due to compression of the nerves that supply those organs. Subluxations can cause painful muscle tightness or spasms and injure your ligaments and tendons. Because subluxations cause misalignments of your skeletal structure, they can change your gait and affect your body’s natural balance, causing one side to become weaker than the other. Misaligned bones in your spine can also cause headaches and overall mental and physical fatigue.

Risks of Summer Activities

Unfortunately, it’s easier to hurt your back when you’re weeding the flower bed or playing a pickup game of softball at a family picnic if you have a subluxation. If your spine isn’t properly aligned, you may be more likely to strain the muscles in your back, sprain the ligaments that hold the bones in a joint together, or injure a spinal disc.

Spinal discs absorb shock and give the spine its flexibility. If these discs begin to bulge, or they rupture and the gel inside the disc oozes out, you may experience pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in your back, legs or arms. Discs begin to deteriorate due to age-related wear and tear or injuries. Fortunately, chiropractic treatment can relieve painful pressure on your spinal discs.

Prepare Your Back for Summer Activities

Visit Your Chiropractor: Correcting subluxations and loosening tight muscles and tissues before you become more active is the simplest way to prevent back pain. Chiropractors correct subluxations with spinal manipulation, a treatment that realigns the spine with gentle movements. In a low back pain study conducted on members of the military and published in the May 2018 issue of JAMA Network Open, participants who received chiropractic care in addition to usual medical treatment showed more improvement in pain and function than those who only received medication or physical therapy.

Stretch: Stretching before any activity is a must. A few minutes of stretching increases your flexibility and range of motion, improves circulation to your muscles and tissues, and loosens tight muscles. Combine stretching with exercises that strengthen the muscles in your core. When your core is strong, you’re less likely to experience injuries that cause back pain.

Be Smart: Don’t overdo physical activity or be a weekend warrior. Use proper lifting techniques, bending the knees to protect your back. Avoid pushing through any pain that you may experience, as this can only lead to more serious injuries.

By taking these steps, you can ensure your back is ready to handle all the fun and activities summer has to offer.

Dr. Gina Marino is the founder of the Center for the Alignment of Body, Mind & Spirit located at 2213 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh, NY. She offers gentle chiropractic care, reiki, lifestyle and nutritional advice. For more information, call 516-221-3500 or visit Align-Me.com.