Those of us lucky enough to be heading off on holiday this summer will be looking forward to a week or two of relaxation to recharge our batteries and see us return to work with a sense of renewed energy. However, as the chiropractors at Archway Health Hub see each year, travel is not without its potential pitfalls when it comes to our health. Here we explore how to arrive at and return from holiday without any health-related mishaps.Man looking at big pile of luggage

Lighten the load

Research found that a third of over 2000 UK holidaymakers surveyed injured themselves at the airport, with luggage-related incidents being blamed for half of the accidents. Back pain, bruises, broken toes, pulled muscles, sprained ankles and cuts and grazes were all consequences of people handling luggage incorrectly or tripping over it. These days, light and sturdy aren’t a contradiction when it comes to luggage, so choose wisely, be strict with yourself and travel as light as you can. When it comes to handling luggage our chiropractors Gemma Webster and Connor Salter recommend the following:

  • Stand alongside your luggage as you prepare to pick it up.
  • Bend at the knees (never the waist) as you go to pick it up.
  • Use your leg muscles to lift the luggage.
  • Grasp the handle firmly as you carefully straighten up.
  • Hold the luggage close to you.
  • Never twist your body when lifting or carrying luggage.
  • If you are forced to carry heavy luggage for a prolonged period of time, stop and rest regularly.
  • If possible use both hands to carry your luggage.
  • Make sure backpacks have padded straps and adjust them so they’re comfortable.
  • Regularly rotate shoulder bags from left to right.
  • Never try to drag rolling luggage on stairs.
  • Place cabin bags on the seat before lifting with both hands placed on the right and left of the bag, wheel-side first. When the wheels are in, use one hand to slide the bag to the back of the compartment. Reverse on the way out.

Flying high

If your holiday involves air travel, it’s important to take precautions to make sure you arrive at your destination raring to go. Drinking lots of water and keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum is important as the dry atmosphere of an aircraft means alcohol’s dehydrating effects are felt sooner than they usually would be.

Unless you have the cash for a first class ticket, cramped conditions on board are a given, so make sure you take the time to get up and stretch your legs, particularly if you’re tall. If you’re on a long haul flight, consider wearing compression socks to reduce your risk of leg swelling or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), particularly if you’re in a risk category.  Also, if your journey is a long one or you are vulnerable to neck pain, it’s worth investing in a travel cushion to help combat unwanted aches and pains.

Road trip

Driving to your destination can be an adventure in itself, but getting from A to B by car involves careful planning. Traffic jams, heat and the demands of your passengers can all take their toll, so it’s worth learning some simple mindfulness breathing techniques to take the stress out the experience. Share the driving if possible and remember the golden rule – if you’re tired pull over and stop for a rest. Driving in foreign countries comes with its own set of challenges. Planning is key when it comes to staying safe by familiarising yourself with the rules of the road and factoring in overnight stops to get out of the cramped environment and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Good night

Unless you’re lucky enough to own your holiday home, holidays involve unfamiliar beds which may not have the quality or firmness of mattress that suit you best. If you’re holidaying in the UK or taking your car, packing your own pillow is a great way to avoid sleepless nights resulting in neck pain. Lying on your back is the best way to avoid aches and pains but if this doesn’t feel natural to you, try to at least keep your neck in line with the rest of your body. Camping requires careful planning to avoid lasting discomfort. Those who find it hard to get up and down should invest in a camp bed, while if you do use an air bed, make sure you place foam matting or a blanket underneath it, to avoid cold air filling the bed and leaving your shivering. Ear plugs and eye masks are a good idea for travel too, as even if you’re in a hotel, thin curtains and external noises can interrupt your sleep.

No matter how careful we are, accidents can happen and aches and pains can suddenly manifest themselves. For more information on chiropractic and other services at Archway Health Hub please call us on 01858 410 820 or email us at info@archwayhouse.co.uk.