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The waning days of summer require balance of movement, rest

Rachel L. Johnson – Contributing Writer

Summertime weather brings out the adventure in Western New York.

That helps explain why it’s also the season for strains, sprains and connective tissue damage in the Buffalo office of chiropractor Patrick O’Neill.

Although “more subtle than a fracture or major trauma that would often require more critical care,” it’s worth taking the time to understand common causes for lesser summer injuries as season enters its final month, O’Neill said.

“Most common injury that is summer-related would typically be in the young adult to 60- something-year old I would say is the 3 G’s: golfing, gardening and going on vacation,” he said.

Typically, youth have more time for sports in the summer than during the school year.  For youth there are recreational water parks or little leagues, gymnastics. One major summer time sport is golf.

“Golfing, in particular, is one of the more aggressive sporting injuries because of the one-dimensional rotation involved,” O’Neill said.

Gardening and backyard lawn care can cause aches and strains, whether they’ve come from sitting or standing hunched over for long period of time to get at weeds, water the garden, or walk behind a lawn mower. It’s important to be mindful of discomfort, take time to stretch and change position, and stop to take water breaks.

It’s something that sank in with Patricia Tansey, of North Buffalo, who recently sat in her garden for a spell after spending time tending her vegetable plants, flowers and small pond.

“It’s one thing to help people feel better but it’s even more important in my practice … to help a patient understand how can they prevent this pattern from repeating,” O’Neill said.

“For example, you know you have an eight-hour car ride, and that sitting for prolonged periods have been a trigger for problems, every 45 minutes set an alarm to pull over get out of the car do a few simple stretches,” he said. “Take two minutes to keep things from inhibiting your ability to enjoy the place your traveling to and from regressing the treatment you received.”

O’Neill also said people should be mindful of good lifting technique.

“I really do avoid deadlifts and taken up other activities instead.” O’Neill said. “I certainly have learned my share of good lessons from the experiences of others. How to avoid after 20 years of practice now, a problem that would leave me on the sidelines rather than able to do my job.”

This also is a time – with two weeks to go before the start of a new school year – to take some restful time before a more hectic pace begins for many families, O’Neill said.

“Have some balance, even if you’re not injured,” he said. “Restful time is important, being capable of actually relaxing, even if you are able to sit still and read the newspaper.”

Rachel L. Johnson is a freelance writer and University at Buffalo Innovative Writing graduate student who founded the SUNY Buffalo State Writers Network. Read more of her work at

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