Sun, sea and… back pain?!

Whilst holidays can mean a well deserved break from work, with time for relaxation and stress relief, all of which can help back and neck pain, we’ve heard from several of our clients that their symptoms can in fact be aggravated whilst getting some sun.


Therefore here are some tips from Anna (Lead Physiotherapist at Animated Physiotherapy) on managing back pain during your holidays:

Which suitcase?

Wheeled cases are generally easier to manoeuvre and once you get some momentum going they should be easy to roll between taxis, airports, or whichever modes of transport you are using!  However, be mindful if you need to lift them have a think: when was the last time you lifted a 20kg+ weight from the floor?  If you are visiting the gym before your holiday it may help you to try some weighted squats and deadlifts so your back is prepared to lift a suitcase.  If this isn’t possible, think about your lifting technique, and try to place the suitcase in the boot of a car before twisting or moving into place.  This can help increased sensitivity of your back from awkward twisting under load if your back is not used to this activity!

Long journey?

If you are going to be sitting on a plane for a long time, make sure you get up and move around regularly.  If you are on a bus or in a car, make the most of any stops to get off, have a walk around and have a stretch.  Even gentle stretches whilst sitting can help, such as pelvic tilts, shoulder rolls, and neck stretches.

Love a sun lounger?

Getting some extra vitamin D is a great idea (just make sure you are wearing sun cream!), but maintaining one posture for too long can be a contributor to back and neck pain.  So if you’re enjoying being out in the sun, try and vary between sitting and lying on the sun lounger, as well as going for short walks, and doing a few laps of the pool!  You can also try my YouTube video for a 10 minute exercise sequence you can try to relieve back pain and keep yourself moving on holiday by clicking here.

How are you sleeping?

If you don’t allow your body enough sleep, this can slow recovery if you do experience a flare up of back or neck pain on holiday.  Therefore, if you are enjoying a few late nights, make sure you also enjoy enough time sleeping to recover!  If your neck causes you problems, it may also be worth you taking your usual pillow away with you so you to help keep comfortable in bed.

Are you drinking enough?

Dehydration, like lack of sleep, can increase sensitivity in the body and slow recovery.  Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, especially if you are doing more activity than usual, the weather is hot, or you have been enjoying a few cocktails from the pool bar!

Trying a new activity whilst away? 

Holidays can involve more activity than usual for some of us.  If you are planning a lot of walking, try and build up your walking distance at home before you go away so your body is less likely to ache from hours on your feet.  If you are trying a new sport, make sure you warm up before to help prevent injuries or aggravation of your neck or back pain where possible – again this YouTube video may be useful as a warm up sequence if you are off to try something a little more intense.


We hope these ideas and tips help, and you have a lovely, enjoyable holiday!  If you have any further questions please drop us an email at [email protected].

Posted in Blog.