Each year, between 10 and 15 million visitors choose the Greater Fort Lauderdale area as their vacation of choice. Add the locals who call Fort Lauderdale their home, and you can imagine that both surf and sand are always full of eager beach-goers. From splashing in the water to tossing a Frisbee on the shore, the beach is packed with activities for the whole family.
But just like everything else, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. If you're looking for ways to walk off the beach without those nagging aches and pains dampening your day, check out these tips for preventing back pain at a Fort Lauderdale beach.
Why is Post-Beach Back Pain Common?
The beach isn't always the postcard it's cut out to be. In reality, you're likely puffing through the parking lot with a two-ton cooler strapped to your shoulder. You're already beginning to sunburn, and your flip flops won't stop sinking into the hot sand.
While you might feel like you're the only one limping off the beach, post-beach back pain is incredibly common. There are a few reasons for this, but it's typically the same five culprits:
- The Sand Lacks Support: On the positive side, walking on a soft surface like sand gives your spine less shock to absorb. But, it also provides little to no support. Running or walking on the sand throws your balance out of whack and puts tremendous strain on the ankles and the lower back as they both try to support your spine.
- Your Cooler is Too Heavy: Coming equipped with snacks and cold drinks is a critical part of the beach-experience, but often comes at the expense of your back.
- Flip Flops Don't Make the Cut: Flip flops are notorious for offering no arch support, resulting in low back pain after hours of wear.
- Your Tanning Position Hurts: Much like how sleeping on your stomach can leave you feeling achy in the morning, the way you choose to lounge on the unsupportive sand can create back pain.
- The Sand Isn't Ideal for Sports: Whether it's beach volleyball or the breaststroke, participating in sports can create sore muscles. Not to mention, sand provides an uneven surface when walking or playing sports. This can cause your ankle to roll to one side or the other, causing a sprain.
How to Prevent Back Pain at the Beach
To avoid needing to seek back pain treatment in Fort Lauderdale, prevention should begin before you even leave the house. First things first, be sure to choose footwear that benefits the spine. By this, we mean shoes that will adequately support your feet. Look for supportive and sturdy water shoes or flip flops that feature a heel cup and deep foot bed for arch support. Leave the flat and flimsy plastic flops behind.
Next, take a good, hard look at your beach bag and cooler. Make sure that they are a manageable weight to carry and that it won't hurt your back when you lug it across the sand. If possible, use a bag on wheels so you won't need to lift it.
Once you get to the beach, keep a few things in mind:
- Spend a few minutes stretching. This will warm up any muscles that you'll be using swimming, running, or playing on the beach.
- Avoid book and tech neck. Keeping your head bent to read or scroll on your phone will cause nagging neck pain. Place whatever you're reading at eye-level.
- Don't stay in one position too long. Laying too long on your stomach will keep your neck at an odd angle that will leave you sore; laying too long on your back with your spine unsupported will create mid to low back pain. Find a happy balance by switching positions often.
Leaving Fort Lauderdale Beach Refreshed
The beach should be a relaxing experience for you and the entire family. To guarantee you all leave any Fort Lauderdale beach you visit feeling refreshed, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Avoid coffee and alcohol, as they'll only further dehydrate you. For every hour you'll be sitting or laying on the beach, you should move for 10 to 15 minutes.
Lastly, perform one last stretch session before you head home. This will help soothe any muscles you might have overworked during the day so you can be comfortable on the drive back home.
Will you be headed to a Fort Lauderdale beach soon? Don't let nagging back pain rain on your parade. Keep these tips in mind so you can enjoy your time in the sun.
Make an appointment to treat back pain with Dr. Schwartz in our Ft. Lauderdale office, or visit one of our other convenient locations. Book Now