A ‘Back Healthy’ Day at the Beach

by ​Lorraine Breau-Thompson, PT

The nice weather is here and we should take advantage of the beautiful local beaches when we can. The warmth of the sand and the sound of the waves create a very relaxing atmosphere which is good for our physical and mental well-being. No beach day is complete without a walk along the water's edge or even a little swim – refreshing! If you suffer from low back pain, here are a few tips to make your day more enjoyable:

– Depending on the distance you will need to travel, you may want to stop half way and have a little stretch break so that you aren't too sore when you get to the beach.
– If you have to walk a fair distance from your vehicle to a spot on the beach, carry only what you need and make a second trip to the car if needed. Try to keep the load you carry even on both sides or use a backpack to keep the load central.
– You might want to leave your cooler in the car and walk back to get your lunch later. This will encourage you to take a walk during your stay which your back will likely appreciate.
– If you like to read when at the beach, bring along a beach chair so that your back is supported. Make sure to get up and go for a walk (or at least stand and stretch) every half hour.
– If a great beach day for you means to lie on the sand and sunbathe, take advantage of the moldable sand to help support your head, back and legs as much as possible.
– When you go for a walk on the beach, try to mainly walk on the hard firm sand, preferably where it is less slanted. This will limit some twisting and side bending of the trunk.
– The strength of the waves and undercurrent is also something to keep in mind when walking in the water as you can be thrown off balance or tense your back muscles to hold yourself up.
– For most people suffering from low back pain, swimming is a great form of exercise. Be mindful of the buoyancy of the salt water. It will often make swimming a little easier and you might not realize how much exercise you have actually done until later. Have a towel nearby to warm you up and avoid shivering and tensing your muscles for a long time.

I hope these tips will help you to go out and enjoy a day at the beach!

To learn more, please feel free to contact Empower Physical Rehabilitation at 902-865- 8100.

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