Think Back: Think Holiday

Active Holidays on the BoatWe all spend a lot of time planning and looking forward to our holidays. The build up to actually getting to the airport or packing into the car is usually a pretty stressful experience, but once there it’s fun, relaxation and adventure ahead!!

However, judging by what I see in our practice, this complete change of routine can have implications on our backs. We are often pretty tense and tight once we get away from the travel preparations and stresses of everyday life. This will make our backs more vulnerable to begin with. We then lift heavy cases off and on to conveyor belts or in or out of cars and carry hand luggage in awkward ways. Once at our destination we may spend hours lying on sunbeds, throwing children around in pools and trying new sports. Also we have different beds and pillows to adapt to.

Any one of these changes can precipitate an acute bout of back or neck trouble and I see many of these when people return from their holidays.

Some simple things that help to keep your back healthy on holiday:

  1. Suitcases on glider wheels and with extendable handles to pull them are an excellent idea. Try to get as near as possible to the conveyor belt to grab your bag and don’t worry if you only manage to turn it into position on the first rotation – a few minutes extra will not be a disaster. Similarly thinking through how to get cases in the car and getting a spare pair of hands is worth it.
  2. Rucksack type hand luggage is always an excellent option. Much better for your back – leaves your hands free to hold on to excited children.
  3. Little neck cushions are excellent especially for longer flights or car journeys and also using a little cushion to support the arch of the lower back is great. Getting up and moving around occasionally or breaking up your car journey will also help reduce tension build up in your spine.
  4. Some of my patients actually take their own pillows away, but once in your hotel room it’s always worth checking the pillows and asking for another option if you don’t like it.
  5. Try not to spend long periods lying on your front on sun loungers reading or sunbathing (“I wish” some of you with toddlers may say!!) – this accentuates arching of your lower back and can trigger problems.
  6. Enjoy playing with your children but don’t go mad straight away as they can be quite heavy especially if you’re carrying or throwing them around!
  7. Also don’t forget that dragging boats, windsurf boards and the many “beach toys” is heavy work for a back. Get help and think of your posture if you can.
  8. Most of all, remember that change of routine is good, but needs adapting to. It might be a great opportunity to try some of the things you’ve been thinking of to help look after yourself – yoga, pilates, Tai-chi are always even more fun with an amazing setting!

Have a great summer!


If you’d like to discuss your or your child’s health with Joanna or one of her colleagues visit Bramhall Osteopathic Practice, 57 Woodford Road, Bramhall, Cheshire, SK7 1JR

Phone 0161 440 0298 or check for more information.

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