Logo of This Morning
itv |

Weekdays 10am-12:30pm

How to beat your back pain when travelling this summer!

It is estimated that 1 in 6 adults in England have some form of back pain. So today, Osteopath Dr Nadia Alibhai is here with some simple exercises that could relieve tension - plus she’ll be revealing her top tips for beating your aches and pains while you head off on holiday.

How many people are suffering from back pain?

  • About 60 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lifetimes.

  • Back pain is the second most common cause of absence from work in the UK.

  • Musculoskeletal pain (back pain is one example of this) accounts for 30 percent of GP consultations in England, and costs the NHS around £5 billion annually.

What are the main types of back pain?

  • There are two main types of back pain: acute and chronic.

  • Acute back pain is short term and only lasts for a few days or weeks, whereas chronic back pain is more prolonged and may reoccur.

  • Whilst those with acute back pain usually recover quickly without any loss of function, chronic back pain may continue 12 weeks after the initial injury or underlying cause

Back pain can affect us all year round... But what are some possible causes?

  • A strain - this can be caused by lifting something heavy.

  • Prolonged sitting and screen usage.

  • Sleeping in an awkward position, which can also cause neck pain.

  • Having poor core muscles.

But there are also some specific causes that can be more serious?

  • Slipped disc - a bulged disc in your vertebrae that presses against a nerve where you can have shooting pain down one or both legs.

  • A fracture - a crack or break in one of your vertebrae.

  • Facet joint pain - pain in one of the joints that link the bones in your spine together.

  • It's important to speak to your gp if you are concerned that you have any of the above. People are now travelling abroad, but even packing your suitcase can put strain on your back?

  • 30% of Brits are predicted to make at least two overseas trips in 2023.

Nadia has been very busy at her clinic with patients seeking advice about their back pain during the summer holidays. Nadia says: "We've had so many people come into the clinic, explaining that they're experiencing pain after packing a big case or that their back doesn't feel right from the flight. Even sleeping in a funny position at their hotel can cause issues. Back pain follows us everywhere, but there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use."

What can we do at home to reduce back pain when we are packing?

"Packing your suitcase is one of the most stressful tasks prior to flying, but it can also put stress on your back. But there are things you can do to improve your environment and reduce the stress on your back."

  • Bring your empty suitcase downstairs, and fill it on the ground floor - this will mean you don't have to carry a heavy suitcase to the door.

  • Put the suitcase on a raised surface, like a dining table, kitchen worktop or sofa so you don't have to bend down.

  • If you want to pack on the floor, kneel on a cushion to take tension away from your back.

  • Stretch every so often if you start feeling tight.

For some travellers it can be a long day, especially at the airport?

A lot of people will spend more time at the airport than their actual flight, and getting through customs can begin to cause aches and pains. "Mobility is important, but it's hard to keep that motion going when you're standing in a busy queue to get through security."

So how can we reduce back pain when we are in the airport?

  • If you're stuck in a queue, gently sway side to side - this will keep your Mobility up.

  • Avoid leaning on one leg, as this can increase tension on your back.

  • Keep hydrated as it's important for your joints. Bring a reusable water bottle, Which you can refill when you are through security.

  • Try not to remain seated for long periods.

Can you keep back pain at bay once you board the plane?

Stiffness is likely to occur on an international flight, and it can increase the further you fly, as you're not moving for an extended period. Injuries are also possible when moving around the cabin, such as stretching to reach bags overhead. "A lot of people have expressed their frustration with the concept of overhead cabin bags, because even placing them in a high compartment can cause injuries. I suggest trying the 2-step process when using the overhead cabin - this means first lifting the bag onto your seat, then readjusting your posture to do the overhead lift. It's also important to shift your posture every 20 minutes. Even just reclining your plane seat and moving it back up will work."

What about the impact of cabin air pressure on the joints?

The cabin pressure also can impact on your joints and spinal discs, causing temporary expansion of tissue. "When you're in the air, the cabin pressure can cause swelling in the joints. This expansion of tissue can lead to aches and is an important contributor to pain from trapped nerves.”

And you can also do some stretches from your plane seat?

  • Turn your head side to side - using a hand to add some pressure.

  • Reach your arm into the air.

  • Turn your torso side to side in your seat.

  • Forward stretch into your lap.

  • Do circular ankle rotation.

  • Lift your heels up and down.

Logo of This Morning
itv |

Weekdays 10am-12:30pm