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It is holiday time and this summer we are more than ready to make the most of it and make our way to sunny destinations abroad.

Which means planes, trains and automobiles!

Plus pulling our luggage around with us.

All this can be a receipe for aches in our neck or low back as we navigate our way from home to our travel destination. This can be a concern for some. You might end up worrying about this in the run up to leaving for holidays, which is not the kind of build up you want. Plus, increased concern and stress can add to your body aches and pains. So how can we mitigate any stresses and strains as we travel?

This blog is all about some simple, actionable tips for you to implement on your holidays.

If you prefer to watch a video with these tips – its all in here

Check Your Luggage

For many of us it will have been two years or more since we have travelled anywhere and our suitcases are gathering dust! So before you pack anything give your backpack and/or suitcase a good check over. Is it in full working order? Are all the straps in good condition? Are the wheels working well on your roller suitcase? Is it still the right travel case for you? Maybe its too heavy. Check all these things before you pack anything. You don’t want to pack all your things only to discover as you move the case when about to leave for the airport that it is broken or a part has worn out.

To Push Or To Pull?

If you have decided to travel with a roller suitcase, a super simple tip is to push the case instead of pulling it. When we pull the case (which could be quite heavy) we need to slightly twist our upper back and reach behind with our arm and shoulder. If you have a history of shoulder issues or simply can get regular neck or mid-back ache, pulling the roller suitcase around may not suit you. Instead, simply push it in front of you. This position is a little more streamlined. It may also reduce potential collisions with people tripping over the roller bag – as you can see accidents (think: mobile phone distractions) in the making right in front of you!!

Move Your Body!

Typically getting to your holiday destination involves lots of sitting – taxis, buses, planes etc. So any chance you can get to move your body while in transit – take it! One tip I suggest is to avoid or minimise use of the travelators in the airport. Take this opportunity as you make what is usually a decent walk from security to your gate to actually walk and stretch your legs. You will be sitting on the plane for maybe three, six or more hours; so taking time to move and work your muscles and support circulation is of benefit. If you are late for your flight you can walk (or run) along the travelator to your gate … but I hope that won’t be the case and your holidays start off smoothly.

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Take Your Time

Once you get on the plane – take your time getting sorted with overhead luggage. This can be a stressful moment. People are flustered trying to get to their seat and impatience can be an issue. Getting your bag into the overhead locker is an awkward movement – it is essentially an awkward overhead lift. This kind of lift needs your core to be engaged and good balance in order not to strain your low back or neck. So I suggest you take a millisecond to bring awareness to how you are standing. Could you move your feet to a more solid position or just move your whole body so you are not over-reaching? This all takes a moment do to. But by not pausing you could land yourself with a strain etc that has you in discomfort for the reminder of the flight. Not a good start – especially if it is a long flight.

Don’t Sit Still

This tip is particularly for those longer flights. Really anything over two hours. Remember to move your body in simple ways throughout the flight. You can do some movements even without leaving your seat.

Rotate your shoulders.

Shrug your shoulders.

Squeeze and release your bum muscles.

Rotate your ankles.

The movements don’t need to be extreme or excessive, remember you have neighbours next to your in the seats. Small, simple, mindful movements can be enough.

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Finally – do not forget to drink enough water. Dehydration impacts your muscles too. All these things have a cumulative effect and can add to the picture when dealing with aches and pains. Plus, when you drink lots of water – you need to pee! Which has the added benefit of you having to get up, move and visit the toilet!

All in all, we have a few tips here to help you reach your long awaited holidays feeling as good as you can and minimising aches and pains. Nobody wants the first day or two of their holidays to be lost due to neck ache or back strain. So, if you can, take your time and be mindful as you travel. If the opportunity presents itself to move your body a little or put down your backpack for a while – take it.

In the case that you find yourself with back ache when you are on holidays you can find some suggestions on do’s and do not’s while on holiday here.

If your issue does not resolve itself within a day or two or if you have suffered with repeated episodes of low back pain, I would recommend you seek advice from a medical health professional either on holidays or as soon as your return.

Remember, addressing a problem sooner rather than later is best.

Natural Back Health is a private professional service providing gentle, low force and safe therapy to bring about healing and relief. I can support your recovery out of pain and back to doing the things you love. I have a whole health and body philosophy to my treatments. My plan of care generally includes tailored advice on stress management, nutrition, exercise, sleep and in-house gentle manual therapy.

If you have any further questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact the clinic on 087 1815007 or here.

Read more about what to expect from my treatments.

Hopefully you find the general information on this page informative and helpful, however it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.

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The clinic is located at: The Wisdom Centre, Sophia House, 25 Cork Street, Dublin 8.

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