One of the most cherished gifts you can give a child, are memories of you sitting in the bleachers at their games cheering them on. The time and attention given in this thoughtful act, can have a powerful positive impact on a child’s self-perception. The difficult part, however, for many people is the back pain that often accompanies long car rides and sitting on bleachers without back support.
In this month’s newsletter, we would like to give you (or someone you love) a few meaningful tips on how to prevent or ease the back pain that can come with these events.
Long Car Rides
If getting to a child’s game requires extended travel time it is important to:
Bring a pillow with you. While in transit, shift the pillow to prevent sitting in the same position for a long period of time. You can put it behind you. You can sit on it. You can put it next to you to prop you.
On long trips, take frequent breaks. Allow yourself time to get out and stretch. Exercise lightly in conjunction with guidance provided by your Physical Therapist or trained exercise professional.
When possible, avoid driving if you have pain or weakness in your driving leg. Find a family member or a buddy to come with you and drive. Or if necessary, take turns driving to reduce leg and back strain.
Whenever possible, it is best to bring your own supportive chair.
When it isn’t and bleacher seating is your only option, bring a small cushion, pillow or blanket to sit on during the game. Using one of these items will elevate the position of your hips, so that they are level with your knees. Preventing a rounding out of your low back can help reduce potential back pain.
Also, while it is easy to become sedentary once you’ve found your seat, sitting in the same position (especially without back support) can cause your back to become stiff. It helps a great deal to get up an walk around at regular intervals. If it is difficult to get out of your seating area or if it is hard to walk, just getting up and cheering on the team can help you stretch and prevent or reduce back pain.
Remember Your Posture
Being aware of your posture is likely the best way to take care of your back and spine. Remember to:
Sit with your back straight and yours shoulders pulled slightly back.
Do your best to distribute your weight evenly on both hips.
Bend your knees so that your knees are even with your hips.
Rest your feet flat whenever possible.
Engage your stomach muscles to help provide you support when there is no backrest.
Giving a child the gift of your support can make such a difference in their lives. Giving yourself equal thoughtful support makes that experience so much richer for both of you!