Summer for most is about fun, sun, beach, longer days, and of course heat. Down in the south most of us would like to do without the heat, but its just not an option without traveling up north or staying inside with the air conditioner set low.
However, if you suffer from back pain, the summer fun can come at a cost to recovery or pain management efforts. The added heat is a factor for many dealing with back pain. Although scientific studies have not shown evidence between heat and back pain, many patients say heat makes a difference in their level of pain.
Back pain sufferers are also affected by extreme heat outdoors as fluid levels change rapidly. The change in our fluid levels due to the heat or physical activity in the heat will lessen fluids in the joints. This can cause discomfort and additional pain to an already painful back. Not properly replenishing fluids can lead to dehydration and additional back pain.
Several factors can play a role when the summer heat is in full effect:
-Reducing the time spent outside in the sun and more time doing indoor activities can help from the added stress of the heat. This is not optimal, but if you suffer from back pain, it may be the best option.
-Reduce long periods of inactivity. This is difficult when driving or flying on summer vacation. However, if traveling by vehicle, schedule in ample time for breaks. Walk around and stretch as often as possible to stay loose. Of course this is much more difficult when flying.
-Cool or cold compresses work wonders especially in the summer. This serves two purposes, cool off and reduce inflammation and pain.
-Stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Many people get dehydrated a lot faster in the summer as opposed to the rest of the year. Being outside for prolonged periods of time can play a factor in added stress to ones back pain.
-Play it safe. Summer presents many opportunities to participate in outdoor physical activities such as gardening or sports. The added heat and stress to the body often plays a factor in added or persistent back pain.
Dr. Aust Interventional Pain hopes everyone has a fun filled summer. We hope you get to experience fun in the sun with those you love. Hopefully, no added pain to existing injuries and no new ones this summer. But if the sun and extreme heat we face in the south plays a factor in your back pain or any other pain this summer, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We will work with you and fit you in.