By some estimates, over 900 people move to Florida every day, and a good number of them are here for the 663 miles of beautiful beaches that the state boasts. Recreational activities like swimming and walking along the shore are possible almost year-round in Florida, but what you might not realize is that those sandy strolls could be contributing to bouts of back pain. How can walking on the beach lead to back pain?
It’s All about the Base
It seems there are a million moving parts to our amazing spines, but the dozens of bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues that create our central axis rest on the “keystone” of the sacrum, the fused bony formation at the base of the spine. This wedge-shaped structure intersects at the hip bones (illium) to create the pelvis, which distributes upper body weight into the legs. The “SI joints”, or sacroiliac joints between the hip bones and sacrum, allow for a small amount of shifting as we move, but the supportive muscles here and in the back can get strained and fatigued if we spend too much time maneuvering over uneven surfaces, and even the joints themselves can get inflamed, leading to back pain that radiates upward from the seat.
When it comes to walking along the shore, our bodies need to compensate for a number of challenges:
- Typically, we need to trek through dry, loosely-packed sand before making it to the beach. Loose sand shifts under the weight of the body, making leg, seat, and back muscles work much harder to keep us upright.
- Packed, wet sand is still a challenge to walk on, because a chain of adjustment happens from the muscles and bones in the feet, through the ankles, knees, hips, and finally into the upper body as the sand compresses and moves.
- The wet sand along the shoreline is sloped, and walking at an “angle” can irritate the back of the pelvis (SI Joints), which will be managing uneven forces in the joints to keep our upper bodies upright.
How Can Beach-Walking Become a Breeze?
Occasional back pain doesn’t mean the end of your sandy strolls. How can you find ease?
- Get Adjusted: Regular chiropractic care will ensure that your joints are aligned from the ground up.
- Get Strong: Seek the focused care of a physical therapist, who can help you identify muscle imbalances and correct any poor biomechanical tendencies.
- Ditch the Flips: Flip Flops seem to be staples of Florida attire, but the poor quality and design make them unsupportive of healthy mechanical gait and lead to back pain.
Seeking Support For Your Active Lifestyle?
What kinds of activities typically leave you with some soreness or stiffness? Mild, occasional discomfort can be expected when you’re an active adult, but when back pain starts to impact your busy life, it’s time to seek support with regular adjustments and care with Naples’ best healthcare team. With highly-skilled experts leading an award-winning, integrated clinic, you’ll be treated for the best results in the least amount of time. Call us today for your free consultation and to get the care you deserve!