The schools break up this week in Surbiton and Kingston and most of you will be packing your bags for that long overdue trip and vacation. If you’re heading abroad, camping, or attending one of the many festivals, I would like to share my advice and tips to look after your back whilst on holiday:-
- Walking shoes: Take some good walking shoes or sandals that support your back, sounds obvious but if you are going to be doing a lot of walking or standing, you need a good pair of shoes that are going to support your joints. Flip flops are great but are they going to support you when you decide to climb box hill, or standing on your feet at festival all day or running around after the children?
- Pillow: Bring your own pillow, if you suffer from neck ache, this can sometimes be induced by the fact your are using a different pillow, so try it on your next trip or camping.
- Carrying loads: Use a back pack, worn on both shoulders. This should also have a good quality belt. The correct way to wear a back pack is for the belt to be tight so that the weight sits on your hips and the shoulder straps simply keep the pack against your back. If your shoulders take all the weight you will get back and neck pain.
- Driving: this is all about seat position and how close you are to the steering wheel. You should be as upright as possible to prevent a head forward position which puts strain on the neck and shoulders. There should be something to prop up your low back, so if you do not have a lumbar support roll up a towel. You pelvis should also be at least the same height as your knees and your natural low back arch should be maintained. If it is lower, you will slump and lose the low back arch which will lead to strain being placed on ligaments and muscles of the back.
- Stretching: Find a qualified person to teach you how to stretch the right muscles correctly. Joint problems cause the muscles that move that joint to tighten. Learning how to loosen them can help to alleviate the pain. We recommend Sophie Capito – Sports Therapist or Jehan Yehia – Physiotherapist
- Keep moving: Try to keep moving if you suffer back pain, the worse thing is actually to stay sedentary, so go for a walk and move a little, you will find this will ease the pain.
- Massage: Massage is widely accepted now as a way to relieve pain and tension. The effects may only be temporary but it allows the brain to “remember” what it feels like to be pain free. It is especially active for back, neck and shoulder pain. Book a massage at the Ace clinic before you start your trip or treat yourself to one on holiday.
- Stress: Tension, anxiety and stress can make you more likely to develop back pain and less likely to recover. Stress is very often invisible however, and becomes accepted as part of a hectic life-style. People do not like the idea of the stress being detrimental to their health as it labels them as having some sort of mental disorder whereas it is more acceptable to have just a physical one. Try to avoid stress where possible, switch off your mobile, work emails, try to preplan as much as possible to avoid stressful situations when you are away.
Most importantly enjoy your holiday and your precious time with your family.
Advice from local Osteopath in Surbiton, Oliver O’Callaghan-Brown