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Six Tips to Ease Back Pain When Watching Sporting Events

Six Tips to Ease Back Pain When Watching Sporting Events

As we head in to the fall, if your family is like mine, we will be spending endless hours watching soccer. Your family may also watch baseball, football, hockey or lacrosse events. You may be watching back to back games and you may be sitting for even more games if you have more than 1 child! And Lastly, let’s not forget about all that driving.

With all that driving and endless sitting... your back will be letting you know it’s not happy!

So how can you manage your back and help ease the pain?

1. Start off making sure you are sitting properly in your car. Use the lumbar support built in to your car seat or supplement it with a lumbar roll or even a rolled-up towel can help in a pinch. Move the back of your seat up so that you are not in a reclined position when sitting. Do not sit on your wallet. Make sure your “cheeks” are sitting evenly on the car seat. Don’t lean on the arm rest so that your weight isn’t shifted over…again have your bottom stay evenly placed on the car seat.

2. When you get out walk around the car for a minute or two before you start loading up your arms with chairs, bags, cooler etc. Give your back a chance to recover from sitting.

3. Load your chairs(s), bags, and cooler evenly so that you are not trying to load only one side. Or even better, get your kids or a friend to help you carry some of that stuff!

4. When there is an option to sit on a bleacher or use a portable chair…use the portable chair. Bleacher seats have no give to the metal and typically no back, so you are faced with trying to hold yourself in a perfect posture for 90 minutes. This will never happen. Therefore, choose the portable chair when you can because you can support your back with a rolled-up sweatshirt behind your lumbar curve and the seat has more give. But remember even these seats are not ergonomically correct. You will still need to keep your feet flat on the ground, don’t cross your legs, and use a small support in the curve of your back.

5. If you must sit on a bleacher then bring a cushion to sit on. Even a bit of cushion can offset the compression on the bones you sit on (your pelvis). Sit at the top bleacher so that you may have a chance to lean back against the wall or top-level fencing. You will have a better chance of having some support if you have something behind you. If you are more likely to only sit on bleacher seats and climbing to the top is not an option, then invest in a bleacher seat that has its own built in seat and back support. I have one and it is heated and it has a vibration/massage mode! You know when your kids/family ask what you would want for a gift and you can never think of something…tell them to get you a fancy, blinged out bleacher seat! Well worth the money!

6. And lastly the very best option for withstanding watching sporting events is to STAND more than sit. Sitting places more pressure on your spine than standing. And sitting poorly, without a back support, and then leaning and flexing forward while sitting, dramatically increases the stress on your back. Stand and walk often during games, alternating frequently between sitting properly and standing/walking. Stand evenly and do not weight shift on one side. Wear supportive shoes as well to ensure that your feet are not contributing to uneven stress on your knees and hips which can feed pressure up to your back. When in doubt always choose standing over sitting.

So, there you have it…Six Back Saving Tips to Survive your children’s or grandchildren’s’ fall sports season!

These 6 tips are just starters. There is more you can do but even if you try these tips you may find a significant reduction in pain. 

Be well! Cindy Langer MSPT, CMCP, FMT
BodyFiT Physical Therapy

PS: That pic shows our seats last night at Red Sox Game---better than bleacher seats but still tough on the back between the driving and sitting for so long...and the Red Sox lost so that was a double bummer!