There is so much to enjoy in the Summer: warmer temperatures, more hours of daylight and fun outdoor activities. But it’s hard to enjoy the season if you’re suffering from back pain. Learn ways to take care of your spine while still enjoying this sunny time of year.

  1. Flip flops – Avoid wearing flat flip flops that have little to no arch support. Lack of support can affect your posture and lead to back pain. Choose a flip flop with good arch supports or a custom orthotic flip flop.
  2. Walking on the beach – Walking on sand at the beach provides an unpredictable and uneven surface which can place stress and strain on the joints and spine. Instead, walk at the water line where the sand is firmer. Always start slow and steady.
  3. Swimming – Swimming is excellent exercise for the back. In the water the body becomes buoyant, and much of the gravitational effect on the joints and spine are displaced. If you suffer from back pain the best strokes for you to try are the backstroke and breast stroke. You can also try wear goggles to reduce improper head movement as you try to keep water of your eyes or even consider using a snorkel to eliminate moving the head to breathe. You can also use a flotation device to maintain proper form when swimming or to allow you to float while replicating a cycling motion with your legs.
  4. Coolers and bags – Avoid overloading your cooler and beach bag. Carrying things that are too heavy can certainly injure your back. Use bags and coolers with wheels instead.
  5. Lounge chairs – When lounge poolside or at the beach, its best to recline in a portable “zero gravity lounger.” These types of chairs keep your back in a stress-free position while sitting. You should also be aware of sitting of laying in one position too long, as it may cause stress or stiffness in other areas of the body.
  6. Sitting too long – Don’t lie around all day. Remember to get up at regular intervals to walk or swim. For every hour you sit, get up and move for 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Hydration – Drink a lot of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated while you’re out for extended periods of time in the heat and sun. You should also try to limit your intake of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they can cause dehydration.


David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.