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How to be Patriotic and Pain-Free this Independence Day

Photo of a family facing away from the camera viewing fireworks while draped in patriotic outfits.

It's set to be a mostly sunny and wonderful Independence Day this year! At Doylestown Sports Medicine Center, our staff is looking forward to a well earned day off with our friends and families. Celebrating this Independence Day shouldn't come at the cost of your physical health. So for that, we've got some helpful tips to help you enjoy freedom with freedom.

Plan Your Walks Ahead of Time

Splitscreen graphical image of the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk on the left with a red white and blue divider splitting the view of a map of the Towpath Trail in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Whether your plan on staying local, going to a local bar or walking the Wildwood boardwalk with your friends and family, it's important to know where you're going.

If you anticipate a long walk ahead, consider stretching or planning your stops to make sure you're able to keep up with those around you. Be sure to gently warm up before you start your walk to help avoid injuries late into your walk.

See Doylestown Sports Medicine Center's blog about increasing 6 Types of Exercise to Improve Your Mobility.

Stay Hydrated

Birdseye view image of a person sliding a glass of water along a table with a "sticky note" to the right stating, "DRINK MORE WATER."

Your body is made up of roughly 70% water. With most Independence Day activities taking place outdoors, and given the recent heatwaves along the east coast, staying hydrated can be easily looked over.

When the body is dehydrated, many negative side effects can arise such as:

  • Electrolyte Imbalances

  • Reduction of Blood Flow

  • Increased Muscle Tension

Electrolyte Imbalances

In an attempt to cool ourselves off, our bodies sweat. When sweating, the level of essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium decrease. Imbalances in any of these electrolytes can lead to cramps, spasms and pain.

Reduction in Blood Flow

As fluid leaves the body (or fails to enter) via sweating, urinating or by inadequate fluid intake, blood flow to your muscles can reduce. With decreased blood flow, muscles fatigue faster due to a lack of nutrients and oxygen; making your muscles easier to tear, bruise and injure.

Increased Muscle Tension

With the combination of electrolyte imbalances and blood flow reductions, muscles tighten and can become more prone to tightness or stiffness, leading to discomfort and pain, especially if you are inactive for a long period of time (ex: falling asleep at the beach).

Avoid Alcohol

Graphical image of 3 beer cans on top of a mount of ice in front of a radial gradient background of red white and blue.

We all want to make Toby Keith proud this weekend. Unfortunately when you mix alcohol, with heat, exercise and patriotism together, it's easy to feel the negative side effects of alcohol (if not while drinking, definitely the next day). Excessive alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption, muscle healing and pain-perception.

We all know about hangovers, but the pain-perception and nutrient absorption are big players here.

Nutrient Absorption and Retention

Because alcohol is a diuretic, we lose nutrients faster through urination. Alcohol can also effect your body's metabolism and ability to process vitamins and minerals such as b-vitamins, potassium and magnesium which all help to reduce muscle weakness and pain.

Pain Perception

As Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) increases, the central nervous system becomes "less alert," lowering your ability to perceive pain effectively. This means if you already have an injury or condition, you may be more likely to re-injure yourself by ignoring (or not feeling) the pain.

Lean your chair, not your neck

Image of fireworks during Horsham Day 2024, with onlookers in the foreground.

When watching fireworks, airshows or banners flown by planes, try your best to not bend your neck super far back. With prolonged and repeatedly bending the neck outside of its normal range of motion, aches and pains can arise.

Instead of bending your neck, try sitting in a beach chair and leaning it back. As long as there's support for your head, you should be able to keep your neck at a less-extreme angle and hopefully avoid neck and shoulder pain later.

It's your Independence Day, not your thumb's

Photo of firework mortars with a graphical overlay above them representing a "No-Thumb-Zone." with a thumbs up icon with a circle and line through it.

We don't need to be medical professionals to tell you this one, don't put your thumbs over the mortars that launch fireworks- as good of therapists as we are, we can't fix that.

Let your daredevil family member or friend be in charge of the show this year and remember, it's your Independence Day, not your thumb's.

If You're in Pain after this weekend

Don't wait to seek relief. At Doylestown Sports Medicine Center, we're here to help you get back on your feet and enjoy your summer to the fullest.

Book a physical therapy evaluation with our expert team to address any discomfort or injury.

Give us a call at (215) 348-0666

or visit us at

601 New Britain Road Building 400, Doylestown, PA 18901.

Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Doylestown Sports Medicine Center!

Edited photo of Doylestown Sports Medicine Center's main location on New Britain road with patriotic images inserted overlaying it.


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