If you are planning a trip away you want to make sure it is as enjoyable as possible. Injuring your back would be a great disappointment and could ruin your holiday. 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life. Back injury is the highest cause of sick leave from work due to an injury. Only stress rivals back injury in work absence.
Here is our Top Ten Tips to prevent you from backaches, stiff necks, and overall soreness.
If you can, exercise the day before you travel. This will help you relax reducing tension in your joints and muscles. You will not only help prevent back injury but make your journey more pleasurable. The exercise could be as light as a walk.
You can start looking after your back from as early as your packing. Be careful of packing too much. Do you really need that big woolly jumper on your summer holiday?
Avoid Stuffing one suitcase when it could be spread over 2 and the load shared.
Be wise choosing your type of luggage. It is a good investment in a light, sturdy, wheeled suitcase. This will eliminate any risk of injuring your back whilst walking around with your luggage.
Choosing your hand luggage can also have an impact on the well-being of your back. Using a rucksack as opposed to a hand carried bag. This will evenly distribute the weight and relieve pressure on your neck and shoulders.
Be careful when lifting. If you can, avoid lifting at all. If you have to lift heavy luggage into cars or high baggage carriages be sure you follow the correct lifting procedure.
Bend with your knees not your back and hold the item close to your body. Seek assistance if the luggage is too heavy to lift alone.
This also applies when lifting children, refrain from twisting. Put children down if you need to pick something else up.
One potential injury waiting to happen is taking bags off the luggage carousel. When you see your suitcase make sure you have plenty of room around you. Still bend with your knees and don’t over reach. If you are struggling to do this, seek assistance. Free yourself of your other luggage so you can safely retrieve your bag.
5. Seating posture
When traveling you are certain to be seated for long periods of time. This is a major issue and could potentially cause back injuries, especially on long journeys.
This can be avoided by maintaining correct seating posture.
To maintain the correct seating posture make sure your feet are flat on the floor with your knees parallel to your hips or preferably higher. If this isn’t achieved naturally, raise your feet. You could utilize your hand luggage to do this.
If driving you will have the opportunity to adjust the seating position. Position yourself so that you don’t have to reach for the steering wheel, avoiding putting pressure on your neck and shoulders.
Stretch your neck and back at any opportunity. Any time you can move from your seat, take it. If you are driving us traffic lights as an opportunity to stretch.
When stretching, take your time. Your back and in-particular your discs are more vulnerable after periods of rest and can be damaged by any quick movement.
Don’t be scared of getting up from your flight seat, especially if you are on long haul.
Make yourself as comfortable as possible when traveling. This will make the journey more enjoyable and protect your back and neck.
- Support your neck with a rolled up blanket, towel or use a specific neck pillow
- Also support your lower back to keep your spine’s natural curve
- Maintain the correct posture as explained in point 5. above
- Avoid leaning and bending your neck when reading or watching on flight TV.
8. Sleeping position
Whilst away on vacation you will be sleeping in a unfamiliar bed. Your sleeping position and comfort can potentially injure your back. You may think that a bed is the comfiest place but if you are lay in a position that is putting pressure on your back or neck you could potentially be in this position for hours on end.
If possible take your own pillow. You know how to get comfy with it and also it will maintain the same comfort you have at home.
If the pillows are not suitable use a rolled up towel to create a comfortable, supported sleeping position.
9. Strengthen your muscles
To give your back and spine as much support as possible, it is advisable to strengthen your muscles. This will enable you to maintain posture and take strain away from your spine. The abdominal and back muscles are the groups that will assist you. This will apply to all situations and preserving your health.
10. Avoid lying too long
Avoid lying on a sun lounger for periods over 15 minutes. They are not ergonomically designed so won’t give you the support your back needs for prolonged periods of time. Short rest and stretches are needed in between each use.
I hope these tips will help. Happy holidaying