The football season is upon us, and many parents are going to be spending Friday nights in the bleachers cheering on their rising star. Unfortunately, most high school football stadiums are equipped with the most uncomfortable seats you can imagine. It’s even led to the term “bleacher back” to describe the back pain caused by weekly visits to the stands.
The main problem with bleachers is that there is usually no back to the seats. That means no back support, so your spine takes the full brunt of being seated. The lumbar spine (lower back) often carries the largest load and ends up being the location of soreness in the days following a game. But there are a few things you can do to help protect your back. Here are 3 tips
3 Ways to Reduce Bleacher Back
Bring Your Own Cushion – The biggest problem with bleachers is that they are hard and low. Bringing your own cushion can reduce some of the hardness of the bench and help bring your hips up to knee level. That will remove some of the strain from the lower back (lumbar area).
Get Up and Move – Rather than sitting for hours, get up every 45 minutes or so to give your back a break. Cheer or do the wave to encourage your favorite team. Take a walk to the concession stand or the bathroom. Stand in place and stretch while there is a break in the action. Just don’t spend more than an hour at a time sitting in an uncomfortable position.
Maintain Back Strength – If you keep up a regular routine of exercise that helps to strengthen your core, especially your back muscles, your body will be able to handle the strain a little better. Core strengthening routines are common now as a part of most exercise regimens. In fact, even many stretching-based forms of exercise such as Pilates focus on core muscles in the abs and back.
If You End Up in Pain During the Season
If despite your best efforts, weeks in the bleachers finally get to you, don’t forget that Dr. Ward is always available for emergency appointments, even on Saturday from 9 AM until Noon. So you never have to miss the big game out of fear of having to wait until Monday for an appointment. It’s just one more thing that sets Ward Chiropractic and Rehabilitation apart.