As the schools close for summer lots of people are beginning to think about going on holiday, but there are a number of things about Summer that can lead to trouble, like heat, insects and bored kids! Yet long, hot summer travelling is right up there amongst the things that aggravate back and neck pain. So, before you head off on your holidays here are some easy but practical tips to keep your back and neck in top shape over the next few weeks:
Lighten the Load.
Pack as lightly as possible. Don't worry about forgetting something. Chances are that where you're going has shops, so you won't be left stranded. Carrying heavy bags can do more harm than whatever it is you've left behind is worth! It's always worth pushing cases in front of you rather than dragging them along, too.
Go easy with the lifting.
Take your time when putting cases into the car or if you're lifting things from low to high (like a case into an overhead locker). Do it in stages, so lift it from the floor to the seat, reposition yourself so you're square on then lift it from seat to locker. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help!
And don't forget the obvious postural stuff when you're lifting: Bend from your knees not your lower back; Keep heavy objects close to your body; Don't lift and twist if it can be helped and especially from a bent forward position! Keep your feet on the floor with your knees at right angles if you're sitting for long periods, and consider using a lower back support if you need extra help.
Remember – whilst this seems boring, it might just save you a trip to the osteopath!
It may be common sense but it's easy to forget to move often if you've got a long journey. If driving, take breaks and don't just to sit in the services clutching a coffee! Go for a walk and a stretch as well. Don't forget, it's not always necessary to do the whole journey yourself: Let someone else drive for a while.
Flying somewhere nice? Whilst you may not want to disturb your neighbour, put yourself first and have a walk up and down the aisle every 45 minutes. Don't let yourself stiffen up.
Finally, if you can, before and after your journey, have a good stretch. Not just of your back but of your legs and hips too!
It's often a good idea to remember to take pain killers, heat packs (disposable ones are perfect for journeys), hot or cold gel with you if you do suffer with body aches, then at least you've got something to turn to if pain kicks in.
If you've never seen an osteopath before, osteopathy treatment can be used to help banish aches and pains, and the osteopath can also give you more in-depth advice about self-help measures while you're away. Self care of your body is as important as your mental health. Take care and have a great summer!