Roller Coasters, Summer Activities, And Your Spine

The dog days of summer are approaching with warm weather and vacation plans.

Perhaps you have a road trip nearing that you’ve been planning for months. Maybe you just want to have a “staycation” this year and do some gardening and chores around the house. Whatever form your relaxation takes, always be aware of your spine. No one wants to arrive at their destination or come home with back pain.

Let’s look at some warm weather snafus that can ruin your summer fun.

Amusement Parks

Heading to the amusement park with your kids is great fun for everybody. But be aware that you can do some serious damage to your spine and back if you don’t pay attention to the warnings and cautions of the rides.

The speed, the turns, and the upward and downward motions of a roller coaster make it a prime situation to injure your back. Hold on to the rails and bars, place your head securely on the headrest. And most importantly, don’t engage in showing off for your kids or a companion.


Traveling by car can be exciting and fun for the kids, but maybe not so much for the driver. Besides the constant, “Are we there yet?” mantra, sitting in one position too long can be hazardous to your back.

Walk around and stretch before beginning your ride. Take frequent breaks to loosen up muscles. Be sure your seat is adjusted for comfort and is close to the steering wheel. Use a pillow or other back support to avoid pain. If you are constantly re-aligning yourself in the driver’s seat, something is wrong, and you may end up with pain in your neck or back.

You may think flying to your getaway is less stressful than a drive, but it may not be for your spine. Crowded seating and long flights can be just as uncomfortable.

Check that you have proper back support. Use a pillow to support your lower back and place something in the gap between your headrest and your head. Pack lightly so you aren’t straining to lift your luggage into the overhead compartment, or just check it.

Summertime Gardening And Yard Work

You may think of working in your garden as a relaxing activity, but it can come with a cost, namely lower back pain. Do some stretching before you begin any task. Raking and carrying heavy bags of mulch can cause muscle spasms and discomfort before you even begin.

In addition, use some of the following tips to avoid injury: Summer Gardening

  • Maintain good posture as you lift anything heavy like pots or bags of soil.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with support and save the flip flops and casual sneakers for the pool.
  • If you are bending forward to pull weeds or to plant your latest annual, stretch in the opposite direction.
  • As in all things, pace yourself and don’t try to do everything in one day.


Surprised this is on the list? This leisure activity has caused many a golfer, including Tiger Woods, some painful rehab.

Do stretching exercises and learn proper swing techniques. Just swinging the golf club can lead to herniated discs.

Have fun during the summertime, but be conscious of all the ways you can ruin your leisure time with back and spine injuries.

If you are susceptible to back problems, ask one of our spine specialists other ways to avoid common summertime spine injuries.

Schedule an appointment with The Orthopaedic Center in Huntsville by calling (256) 539-2728 if you have injured your neck or back.