The Treatment Lab

Back Pain- The Hidden Dangers Of Your Holiday

21st July 2016


Samantha Sullivan  BSc (ost) Hons

Registered Osteopath

Are you going on a well earned holiday? Make sure you take care of your back!

Over the Summer most of us will have a chance for a bit of rest and recuperation but a lot of us come back from our holidays with more than just a tan!

In the practice there is a sharp rise in holiday related back pain. Whilst a holiday is a time of relaxation and an escape from our day to day stressful lives, it is quite often this change from our normal lives that can create a whole new set of problems.  Whether you are taking a long haul flight or packing up the car this is not a good time to be suffering with back pain.

It starts with the build up to the holiday, often finding ourselves overloading our work commitments in an attempt to meet all deadlines before the final working day is finished. As if this wasn’t enough there is the packing.  Not just the act of packing, but the sheer amount that we stuff into our cases (or is that just me?!). Then we have to carry the thing down the stairs and hoist it in and out of the car.

Lifting hand luggage into the overhead lockers in a cramped cabin also has it’s dangers, especially if you have children that require you to retrieve something from there numerous times during the flight!

So now the journey is over and done with we convince ourselves that the annoying ache in our back will resolve itself during the holiday. Not always the case. We then have to contend with the rigid bed and lumpy pillows, not to mention the unpacking. The final insult is often the sunbed… aware that lying on your front can be the position that aggravates the lower back the most.

Changes in our routines are often what lead to injury, so whether you are going to be more or less active than normal on your holiday bear these top tips in mind :-

-Pack downstairs.

-When lifting a suitcase bend from the knees and try to lift suitcases together in order to share the load equally.

-Pack less!

-Use an inflatable neck pillow on the plane to avoid neck pain and get up and move around on the plane or take regular breaks if you are driving a long way.

-When lifting bags from an airport carousel try to stand close to the carousel and bend the knees.

-Try to use wheeled cases to reduce lifting.

-Drink plenty of water to avoid muscles becoming dehydrated.

-Drink alcohol in moderation to avoid reckless behavior and injury!

-When driving do not carry your mobile phone or wallet in your back pocket. If you do it can create an abnormal sitting position, tilting one hip higher which may cause you to have problems.

-When swimming (especially if you are not a regular swimmer) try not to do lengths of just one stroke, and vary the stroke to use other muscle groups. If you can only do breast stroke try not to hold your neck out the water for long periods and vary by putting a float between your legs to rest your low back.

-Keep active. We tend to lay around more on holiday so take a daily walk to compensate.


If you suffer with regular back pain visit our osteopath before your trip.  Call 01908 766425 to book your appointment.

Remember- everyone is different, and all injuries are different.  This article is for information only and does not constitute advice for your injury.  You should consult a qualified therapist to accurately diagnose and treat your injury.

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