Summer is the perfect time of year to go on holiday in the UK. Although the weather can be variable, there are plenty of beautiful and exciting locations to visit. From glorious National Parks, beautiful towns and villages, to the stunning beaches around the UK’s coastline, there is something for everyone.
However, it’s important to be aware that there are some potential risks associated with going on holiday, particularly if you are already suffering from back pain. Holidays take us out of our normal routines, which increases the risk of injury or a flare up of a pre-existing condition.
As a busy chiropractic clinic in Ealing, we see many patients returning from holiday with back problems. In this post, our Ealing chiropractor shares some simple tips which will make your next holiday ‘back safe’.
Staying Safe While On Holidays
#1 – Make Your Car Ergonomic
Often the back problems we see at our chiropractic clinic are caused by spending many hours in a car. If you are going to be driving a lot during your holiday, adjust your driving position to make it more ergonomic. Here are a few tips:
- Set the back of your seat so it is slightly backwards. This will make it feel more natural and help you position your arms in a comfortable and relaxed way
- Adjust the height of the seat so you can see over the bonnet without leaning in any direction
- Adjust the steering wheel so your hands fall on it naturally with your elbows slightly bent. If your steering wheel is too far away from your body, it can cause muscular tension in your upper back and shoulders.
- If your seat has it, tweak your lumbar support. If not, consider getting a thin cushion to support your lower back during long journeys
- Adjust your mirrors so you can view them without twist your neck or upper back
- Place your seatbelt so it rests across your shoulder
Regardless of how ergonomic your vehicle setup is, it’s always important to take regular breaks. Make an effort to get out of the car every hour to have a stretch and walk around.
#2 – Wear The Right Footwear
Going on holidays can often involve a lot of walking and a lot of standing around. This can be difficult if you normally have a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Make the adjustment easier on your back by getting a pair of comfortable shoes with good arch support.
#3 – Pack Well
Lifting heavy suitcases is another common cause of the back injuries we see at our Ealing chiropractic clinic. Avoid this common issue by only packing the items you really need on your trip. You can also take more suitcases to spread the weight of your possessions more evenly.
It can also be a good idea to use wheeled cases instead of bags you constantly need to lift. If you do choose to use a wheeled case, push the case instead of pulling it around as this is better for your back.
#4 – Look For A Good Mattress
If you will be staying in hotels or self accommodation, read reviews to learn how good their mattresses are. You can also ask hotels to give you a room with a firm mattress. This is advisable because it is easier to make a firm mattress soft than it is to make a soft mattress firmer. You can simply ask for an extra duvet to throw across the mattress if it is too hard.
#5 – Keep Exercising
Many people treat their holidays as a time to overindulge on food and alcohol. Unfortunately, this can impact their normal exercise routine, leading to back problems. Avoid this issue by continuing to exercise during your holiday. Look for opportunities to work out while traveling, like walking, swimming, and cycling.
#6 – Watch Your Posture When Lying Around
If you have planned your summer holiday to involve a lot of relaxing by a pool or beach, you may find it not so relaxing on your back without taking a few precautions. When laying on a deck chair or lounge, make an effort to remain mindful of your posture. Avoid laying on your stomach or side for long periods, as it can be tough on your back. If you are reading a book, place it so you are not forced to lean your neck or twist your back to read it. Use towels to support your spine if you are sitting in a chair that isn’t ergonomic.
Our chiropractors at The Spine & Joint Centre in Ealing wish you a very happy and safe summer holiday where ever you plan to spend it. Follow the advice in this post to make it a back safe holiday.