Summer can be full of fun: swimming, bicycling, sports– there’s a lot to do once the weather turns warm. Unfortunately, some summer activities can also lead to injury if you don’t take proper precautions. Here’s how to prevent and treat the most common summertime injuries:
Car Accident Injuries
Across the country, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 deadliest days” on the road. Teenage drivers and intoxicated drivers cause many accidents during this period, and even sober drivers often ignore speed limits during good weather. You can’t control everyone’s driving, but there are some ways to make yourself and others safer this summer.
Never drive while intoxicated, and talk to your teenagers about the dangers of driving while under the influence. Teenagers should also be taught about the dangers of speeding and reckless driving. Even adults sometimes need a reminder that speed limits are in place for good reason, and it’s better to be late than never arrive at all.
In addition to making sure that you are driving safe, you should always buckle up. In 2017 47% of people who died in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. If you are worried about other people’s driving, try taking a defensive driving course. These lessons will teach you to avoid hazardous situations while on the road.
After a car accident, it’s crucial to see a doctor right away. Go even if you aren’t feeling any pain. It’s common for pain from car accident injuries like whiplash to have a delayed onset.
Back and neck problems from car accidents can be debilitating if left untreated, but chiropractic care can help get you back on your feet. Adjustments and other therapies provided in chiropractic offices, are non-invasive and clinically proven to be effective for treating whiplash, disc injuries, and more.
Sports and Work-Related Injuries
Hospitals report seeing increased numbers of injuries from sports and physical labor during the summer months. This is partly because more people are participating in outdoor sports and doing yard work or construction work during the summer, but there are also preventable factors. Many injuries are caused because people go from being sedentary to being active without proper warm-ups or training. If you spent most of the winter sitting on your couch, you’ll need to get back into shape before hitting the soccer field or re-landscaping your yard.
Start a training program at least a couple of months before participating in any strenuous activity, like running a marathon or going on a challenging hike. Your training should start with a workout routine that increases your breathing and challenges you but doesn’t exhaust you or cause you pain. Gradually increase the level of your workout by adding more reps, more time, or more weight (only one of these at a time.) If you are training for a particular sport or activity, try less strenuous versions of the activity. Go on some easy or moderate hikes, run 1 mile, then 2, and so on until you can meet your goal. Even if yardwork is your summer “sport,” you need to be in reasonably good shape, before spending all day tilling the garden or digging up the sprinklers.
No matter how good of shape you are in, you should always spend a few minutes warming up before doing any physical activity. You can find good warm-up routines online; most include some stretching followed by some mild exercises. Warming up will significantly reduce your risk of injury.
You should also be careful to lift from your knees when working and always wear appropriate safety gear for whatever activity you are doing. This might include a helmet, knee pads, a back brace, or sports wraps. Use long-handled tools while gardening and consider sitting on a stool to reduce strain from crouching and kneeling.
Even with precautions, injuries to your joints, back, or neck can happen during an active summer. Get treatment right away if you become injured. For minor injuries, homecare such as hot and cold therapy, wraps, and gentle stretching can help. A chiropractor can help you safely care for your injury at home in addition to providing in-office care. Some treatments, like acoustic compression therapy, can treat both old and new injuries by breaking up scar tissue and reducing inflammation. Talk to your chiropractor about which adjustments or treatments may be right for you.
Slips and Falls
Most people think of winter as slip- and- fall season, but summer sees it’s share of these injuries. By the pool, on wet lawns, or over rake handles, there are plenty of opportunities for slip-and-fall injuries to happen while you go about your summer. These injuries are most dangerous to older people or those with osteoporosis, but even if you are young and healthy, a fall can cause severe back problems, or even head injury.
Slip-and-fall injuries are almost always preventable. That basic rule we tell our kids applies to grown-ups too–don’t run around the pool (or on any other wet surface). Wet lawn, in particular, can become very slick, and sprinkler heads are hidden tripping hazards. Make sure to put shovels, rakes and other equipment away when you are done, and lean them up in a visible spot while working in the yard. That old cartoon cliche of stepping on the rake is no laughing matter in real life.
If a fall happens to you or a loved one, there are some things to keep in mind. First, if the person who has fallen has a possible broken bone, don’t move them. Call 911 and let the paramedics move them properly, so the break isn’t exacerbated. Any kind of head injury should be examined by a doctor right away, no matter how minor it seems. Like with car accidents, it’s typical for muscle strains or back injuries caused by a fall to not be painful until a day or two later. If you start to feel pain, go to your chiropractor. He or she can take x-rays, advise you on home care, and create a treatment plan to heal your injuries faster.