Back pain

Back away from pain this summer

This month, Apex Clinic proprietor and spinal and headache physiotherapy specialist, Rebecca Nelson shares some important tips on looking after your back on holiday and preventing pain from spoiling your fun in the sun.

Heading away on a much needed holiday? Here at Apex Clinic we regularly hear how back pain has ruined patients’ holidays.Long flights, uncomfortable mattresses and hours spent lying on sun loungers can do more damage than you realise.

Don’t let the plane cause you pain

Long haul flights can play havoc with our lower backs so recline your chair for as much of the journey as possible. The optimum sitting position is an angle of 35 degrees backwards from the vertical position, perfect for reducing the load through back discs,making them less susceptible to injury. Get up and walk around during the flight
wherever possible.

Upon arrival…

Did you know that for the first 24 hours after flying your back is more vulnerable to injury? Holidays are the perfect time to relax so start as you mean to go on. Activities such as heavy lifting, running and walking up steep inclines are likely to load your lower back and are best avoided for the first day.

Getting comfortable 

Topping up your tan can mean hours spent on sun loungers, which are disastrous for people with lower back pain. Reducing the load on your back is easier than you think. Raise your lounger to an angle of between 35 to 45 degrees from the vertical position to avoid lying horizontally. Secondly, roll up two towels and place them under both knees to create a slight bend.

Love the feel of the sun on your back?

Towels also come in handy when lying on your stomach. Fold a beach towel to create at least 4 layers and place below your tummy to stop your lower back joints jamming together.

Finally, lying in the same position for prolonged periods of time should be avoided so break up sunbathing with other activities to reduce the risk of a flare up of lower back problems.

Practice safe swimming

Holidays are the perfect time for taking a dip and cooling down. However, breaststroke can aggravate lower back pain. Gently jogging on the spot, treading water or front crawl to move around are safer practices and the perfect way to keep active.

Don’t head for the hills

With all the changes our lower backs experience on holidays, we recommend minimising walking or running uphill as steep inclines place a high load on the lower back discs, which can cause pain. Choose flat terrain and soft or flat surfaces such as the beach where possible, as it is great for shock absorption.

Your mattress matters

If you feel like your mattress is too soft, ask for a replacement. Alternatively, take your bedding to the floor and sleep here in order to reduce the risk of waking up with severe back pain in the morning.

Apex Clinic is here to help

Here at Apex Clinic, we are extremely proud of our high success rate in clearing back pain when patients have had unsuccessful treatments in the past. If you are suffering from back pain, don’t give up on finding a cure. Book an appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapists for a second opinion. No GP referral is necessary.