Now that summer is here and it's getting very hot outside, many people are beginning to take advantage of the nice weather and longer days by spending more time outdoors and being more active. While these people may enjoy the warmer temperatures, not everyone is happy to see them. Because for many people an increase in temperatures can mean an increase in their back pain!
Anyone who suffers with back pain and sciatica know how terrible and severe they can be. And for many, one of the worst parts about this pain is that it can happen at any time and for seemingly any reason. The way people experience back pain is different for everyone, and this is why changes in temperature can be so frustrating. For some, warmer temps actually make their back pain feel better, so they are probably feeling pretty good right now. But for others, the heat makes their backs and sciatica feel much worse. So for those whose back pain and sciatica are being affected by this summertime heat, remember these quick tips to relieve that pain:
1. Get indoors or where it's not as hot - This may be obvious, but if the heat causes your back pain to flare up you should stay where it's cool. If you can't go indoors, at least find some shade to stay in and get away from the sun for a while.
2. Stay hydrated - Getting dehydrated can cause many issues including worsening back pain, so you should always make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
3. Eat well - Try to eat all natural foods if possible. Processed foods tend to cause inflammation that can lead to back pain. Conversely, there are many foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as berries, vegetables, and more.
4. Dress for the weather - When it's hot out, wear brightly colored, loose fitting clothes to keep you cool. Avoid black clothing at all costs, because black absorbs heat and will make you much hotter.
5. Use ice packs - Applying ice to where the pain is will not only cool you down but will also soothe the pain and reduce inflammation.
6. Exercise - Doing some low impact exercises can be a great help with back pain by strengthening the muscles in your back. Some light aerobics, walking, or swimming are a few ways to exercise without causing any extra pain.
7. Be active outdoors - Even though the extreme summertime heat may give you back pain, it's still good to be outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. The secret to doing this without causing too much back trouble is to do your outdoor activities in the morning or evening, when the temperatures are lower and the sun isn't quite as high and hot.
8. Get a dehumidifier - If your back pain is worsened by heat you often will also feel worse when the humidity gets higher. In that case a dehumidifer can make a big difference, especially at night when you're trying to sleep.
9. Use cooling products - There are several types of products that can help you stay cool, such as lotions or powders. These are a good, natural way to help keep your body temperature down.
10. Plan ahead - During the summer months people usually have a lot of things going on, such as travelling for vacation or to visit family, or going to carnivals, amusement parks, or concerts. All of these events can cause back pain flareups if you aren't careful. So it is wise to plan ahead. For instance: bring a pillow or cushion to sit on, bring some ice packs and extra water if possible, and plan to take several breaks so you aren't over-exerting yourself.
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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