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Back care on holiday...

August is upon us and it seems as though everyone is holidaying. This can be a vulnerable time for those of you with bad backs so follow our simple hints and tips to ensure a happy, healthy holiday!

On a flight:

* Don't sit for too long. Getting stuck in one position for a prolonged period does nobody any favours. Make sure you get up and walk down the galley several times and lift your heels and toes up and down for a few minutes every time you think about it just to keep everything moving.

* Don't let yourself get dehydrated. Drink lots of water on the flight, and limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Dehyration can irritate existing back complaints.

* Take care lifting your case into the overhead locker. This is a horrible action which makes me cringe every time I see someone do it. Suck your tummy muscles in and lift your bag gently with both hands and straight up. Try not to twist at the same time if you can.

At the airport:

* Use a baggage trolley if one is available, they are much easier than carrying or dragging suitcases behind you.

* Use extreme care when lifting your cases from the baggage carousel. If you cannot get to it easily, let it come around again, do not try and become a contortionist for thirty seconds to get to your luggage.

At the hotel:

* If you don't like the pillows, check the wardrobes. The wardrobes often contain spares which are better than the ones on the bed, and failing this, ask at reception as many hotels these days offer a 'pillow menu' which means there are several options from which to choose, including often, an orthopaedic option.

* Some hotels will have an option for an orthopaedic or memory foam mattress if you email them in advance. If you arrive and find your bed is too hard, ask for another duvet, and put this underneath your bedsheets to give a little extra pressure relief.

* Don't lay on your sunbed and read! This is another thing which can be very troublesome as laying in a prolonged posture on your front with your back extended can lead to irritation of the facet joints in your lower back. Vary your position, read with your book on the floor in front of you so you are straight, or try lying with a spare towel under your tummy to support your back. Try not to stay in one posture for more than 20-30 minutes without getting up and moving around. Take regular dips in the pool, vary your stroke, and walk in the water too.

* Remember your exercises. If you've been prescribed rehab/prehab exercises by your therapist - remember to do them while you're away. All too often we see patients' progress fall by the wayside as they forget to do their daily stretches. It can really put you back so do try to find time to fit them in.

If you have any problems while you're away and need to see us when you get back, email the clinic at and we can arrange an appointment for you without you needing to call us.

Happy holidays folks!

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