Are You Up Up And Away This Summer?

back care advice from our southend chiropractorIt’s summer time and while the weather here in the UK is sensational at the moment, many people will be hopping on an airplane for their summer breaks searching for what is usually elusive sunshine!

Taking a break can be a very good thing and our chiropractors recommend it, however, it can lead to us doing things we wouldn’t normally do, which can increase the risk of injury. Picking up heavy luggage, twisting the back pushing a luggage trolley and sitting awkwardly in a confined space for long periods are just some examples of things we wouldn’t do on a daily basis which can all lead to back pain.

Our chiropractors at Cliffs Chiropractic Clinic in Southend want your summer holidays to be a time to relax, enjoy and have fun and not be ruined by a bad back. With this in mind they have put together some simple things you can do to protect your back when flying and it all starts with some preparation:

Prepare wisely:

  • Use lightweight cases, preferably with wheels, to minimise the weight you have to carry. It’s best to choose a case with wheels that allow you to push the case in front of you than having to twist your body to pull it.
  • Depending on your airlines rules, it is best to use two lighter evenly balanced cases than one heavy one.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Most of us are guilty of packing way to many clothes and accessories for our time away.
  • Make your luggage stand out from the crowd so that you don’t have to lift too much luggage off the carousel mistakenly! A simple way to do this is to tie coloured ribbon to the handle.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before heading off to the airport. Tiredness can lead to mishaps!

At the airport:

  • Avoid using a luggage trolley if possible, especially if your luggage has wheels. Trolleys so often have  a life of their own and can result in a lot of effort and body contortions to keep then going in the direction you want.

On the plane:

  • Take care lifting and removing any luggage into and out of the overhead containers.
  • Avoid stiffness during the flight by doing some simple exercises in your seat. Shoulder shrugs, foot circles and buttock clenches are good exercises to do.
  • If it is convenient then stand up and take a walk around the plane.
  • Stay hydrated. Flying is dehydrating on the body so drink plenty of water or juices. Avoid drinking alcohol as this will add to the dehydration.

After the flight:

  • Get walking as soon as possible after you get off your flight. This will help get your joints moving. Avoid using travelators or walking along the travelators.
  • Take care lifting your luggage off the carousel.
  • Don’t forget to avoid using a luggage trolley if possible.

As much as we love to see our patients we really do want to help you avoid back pain and a trip to the clinic. Follow these simple steps to help avoid back pain if you’re flying this summer and do have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Summer Holiday Pain Busters

back care advice when travelling from our southend chiropractorIf you suffer with back pain or neck pain, the thought of a long trip or journey can be daunting. Let’s face it, the seats in cars, airplanes, buses, and trains aren’t exactly the most comfortable. And even sitting still for a prolonged period can in itself cause/ worsen pain in the back and neck. So here are some tips from our Southend chiropractor to help you travel with ease this summer:

If you’re susceptible to back pain, carrying a heavy bag will likely be more than just an inconvenience! To avoid added strain, take a light suitcase with wheels and a handle for rolling it. But remember that you’ll still need to lift a wheeled suitcase up and down the stairs or in and out of the car. Therefore, instead of stuffing all your holiday must-haves into one large suitcase, take a few smaller bags instead.

When lifting a heavy item, back strain most often occurs near the end of your range of motion. This is why it is better to move slowly when lifting heavy luggage and to break the action into smaller parts. For example, if you’re lifting a bag into an overhead bin, try lifting it to the top of the seat first, then into the bin in a separate motion. Similarly, you can take it in steps to load a heavy suitcase into the boot of your car. This may mean lifting it first to a chair or stool, then lifting it into the boot. Other important lifting tips to remember include:

  • Always bend at the knees and use your leg muscles rather than your back muscles to lift
  • Avoid twisting your low back while lifting; pivot with your feet instead
  • Carry heavy items as close to your body as possible
  • Make sure you distribute weight evenly on each side of the body
  • When carrying a one shoulder bag, switch sides regularly to avoid putting strain on one side of your back.

Take these tips on board (excuse the pun) when you head off on your travels this summer. They could just save you from agonising back pain.