Get set for summer!

Don't let back pain creep up during those long summer days

With the summer solstice fast approaching, the days are getting longer and more people will be relaxing in the sunshine. This additional time in the sun may lead to more than just a sun tan and there are ways that you can enjoy these lazy summer days, without feeling the strain.

New consumer research* found that over half (51%) of the UK population are currently experiencing back pain, whilst more than two thirds (68%) have suffered from back pain at some point in their lives. With this ailment proving so common, even the most innocuous things like lying in the sun for too long can trigger symptoms of back pain.

BCA Chiropractor Stephen Connolly, thinks the effects of sitting and lying down for extended periods of time could have a negative impact on people’s posture, “The nation already suffers the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, particularly during the long winter months. Unfortunately, we cannot let our guard down in the summer either. Long, warm, sunny days make us feel more inclined to take in the sun or remain in sedentary positions outdoors for long periods of time. Whilst getting fresh air is great, as sunshine boosts vitamin D levels and calcium absorption into the bones, the effects of prolonged lying or sitting can have a negative effect on the back”.

Some simple pointers to enjoying the long summer days ahead:

  • Stand up and move around every twenty to thirty minutes; just stretch and shake out your limbs, to allow your muscles to relax. Using something like the Straighten Up UK exercises would be ideal. You can combine this with fresh applications of sun cream or taking a drink of water.
  • If sunbathing and/or reading, try not to lie on your tummy, with your back and neck arched back. Put the reading matter on the floor, so that you can view it over the edge of the sun bed with your head and neck in a more neutral position.
  • If lying on a sun-mat or towel, listen to an audio book instead!

Straighten Up UK is a simple, three minute exercise routine devised by the British Chiropractic Association. This can be incorporated into your daily routine to help strengthen the spine and improve posture. The exercise routine can be viewed here.

*BCA research of 2,000 respondents carried out in January 2011 by