Avoid Suffering Back Pain This Summer

At Apex Clinic, Belfast every summer we frequently hear how back pain has ruined many people’s annual holiday. What should be a relaxing and fun time is ruined by pain from long flights, uncomfortable mattresses and hours spent lounging on sun-beds, all of which may be doing more damage than you realise.

With many of us planning our summer holidays this month, Clinic Founder and Spinal & Headache Physiotherapy Specialist, Rebecca Nelson, shares some valuable advice on keeping your back pain-free this summer.

Sitting comfortably?

Long haul flights are one of the major causes of lower back pain, but thankfully, this can be reduced, simply by reclining your chair back for as far as possible for the duration of the flight. Positioning your seat at the optimum reclined angle of 35-45 degrees is perfect for reducing the load through your back discs, making it less susceptible to injury. Plus, getting up regularly and walking in the aisles will also reduce the risk of injury.

Don’t overdo it on arrival

The first 24 hours after flying is when your back is most vulnerable to injury so taking care of it during this timeframe is crucial. Upon arrival, minimise the lifting of heavy suitcases and avoid running or walking uphill where possible as these activities can cause lower back injuries, so are best avoided for 24 hours.

Use sun loungers wisely

Relaxing by the pool is definitely a highlight of a holiday, but sitting incorrectly could play havoc with your lower back. However, following these simple tips can go a long way to reducing the load on your back. Firstly, 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.

When it comes to lying on your stomach, towels also come in handy here. This time, fold a beach towel to create at least four layers and place it under your stomach to stop your lower back joints jamming together.

Finally, break up prolonged sunbathing with brisk walking on the flat or swimming to reduce the risk of a flare up of lower back problems.

Swim safely

Warm weather calls for a dip in the pool to cool down but we recommend breaking up swimming by gently jogging on the spot, walking in the water forwards or backwards or treading water to provide some kinder exercise for your back.

Stay on level ground

By exposing our lower backs to lots of potential risks on holiday, we recommend minimising walking/running uphill to avoid placing a high load on back discs, which can lead to extreme pain. Keep to flat surfaces such as the beach, which also offers shock absorption, reducing the risk of injury.

Your mattress matters

If your mattress on holiday is too soft and you experience back pain in the morning, ask for a firmer one. If this isn’t an option, we recommend taking your bedding to the floor and sleeping there in order to reduce the risk of waking up in pain.

Apex Clinic can clear back pain in most cases

At Apex Clinic, Belfast we have an extremely high success rate in clearing back pain, even when patients have had many unsuccessful treatments in the past elsewhere.  We offer a unique specialised manual treatment regime called The Nelson Spinal Approach™ which isn’t available at any other clinic in Northern Ireland and has a very high success rate at clearing pain. If you suffer from back pain or sciatica, help is at hand. Book an appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapists to clear your pain. No GP referral is necessary.

If you would like to book an appointment at Apex Clinic, contact us on: 028 9048 4153. No GP referral is necessary.