Your Health: Avoiding those Spring Injuries

Once the snow melts and the weather warms up many of us will head outside to do some yard work and play sports. When you do that, though, be careful because you can injure yourself.

Dr. Mazin Ellias with Advanced Pain Management stopped by Sunrise 7 on Monday morning to talk about the injuries and what we can do to prevent them. Every Spring, there's in an increase in the number of people who have back pain or other injuries because of spring travel and other activities.

If you plan on doing some yard work or playing sports, here's what you can do to prevent those injuries:

Take a warm-up walk: Get your heart pumping and your muscles loose by going for a brief walk and doing some easy stretches. Preparing your body for physical activity before you ever pick up a spade, shovel or ladder can be very helpful.

Use proper tools: Make sure to use tools that are appropriate for your height. Improper tools can lead to hunching, twisting or awkward positions that can injure your back or other body parts. Before buying spring chore equipment at the store, test it out in the aisle.

Make it a full body workout: Don’t make your back do all the work! Lift items like flower pots, mulch and tools by using your legs, not by bending at the waist. Also, work at the proper level; if you’re planting something on the ground, kneel on a pad instead of hunching over.

Switch sides: Just like dribbling a basketball, people tend to favor one hand over the other. Instead of digging dirt or grabbing leaves from the gutter from only one side, try switching to avoid muscle fatigue and the potential pain that often results.

Take regular breaks: Spring chores aren’t a race. Easing your body back into regular physical activity helps your muscles regain strength and keep pain away. Try taking a short break every 15-20 minutes to enjoy the weather and the work you’ve accomplished so far.

You can also injure yourself when you travel for Spring Break. Here's how you can prevent those injuries:

Talk with your doctor: Let your doctor know where you are going and discuss the activities you’re planning on. Some high-impact activities aren’t a good idea for everyone.

Prepare for travel: Check with your transportation provider if the proper accommodations are available for you. Use a suitcase with rollers if you have one. Remember to bring along any medications you need and don’t forget to bring items that make travel easier, like a heating pad or neck pillow.

Stay loose: Stretch your muscles when you get the chance, especially if your trip involves long periods of travel. Getting stiff muscles and joints can lead to pain.

Pack smart: Pack clothes that fit the weather you expect. Be sure to bring along any braces or supportive devices you need.

Understand your limitations: Don’t be afraid to skip an activity you know you’ll struggle with and don’t be afraid to share that plan with people in your group. Take breaks if necessary.

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