This blog was inspired by a patient who came to me recently with a very sore back that he needed relief from before he got on a flight to New Zealand.
Of all places to fly to, he couldn’t have picked one further away!
Anyways, his back was quite locked up and I had less than 10 days to get him in a manageable state where he could sit and sleep in a sitting position for the guts of 24 hours. (Yikes).
In short, I had 3 sessions over 10 days and got it to calm down to a pretty good level where he was a still a little stiff in some movements but a hell of a lot better than he was and importantly, had no back pain.
But, he was only going over there for three weeks for a wedding and his question was “what do I do if my back goes when I’m over there?”
A good question and while there are physios in New Zealand, neither he nor I, know the system in New Zealand. If he could avoid having to go looking for one, then all the better.
So here are a few tips that I think will be of benefit to anyone who gets on and off back pain and may be worried that their back will “give up” on them this summer.
1 – Don’t Panic
Back pain can be influenced not only by physical stress but also by emotional stress. When you get stressed, you go into a state of ‘fight or flight’ in which your muscles will tighten and your body becomes more sensitive to pain.
This is the opposite to what we want to happen to relieve back pain.
Unless you are getting severe pain shooting down your leg, unable to go to the toilet or have bad pins or needles or numbness, then it is more than likely a soft tissue reaction and it will calm down.
2 – Do try to move.
Whatever movements you can do without causing pain or a increase in symptoms are fine to do. Infact they are beneficial to do and pain-free and relaxed movements will have positive effects and help to reduce the tension in your body.
The key words here are relaxed and pain-free. If your back is very sore then it’s pretty safe to say that you will not be able to on the water slide or rollercoaster with your kids.
Maybe just skip them for a day or two until everything calms down a little.??
Gentle stretching or movements of the back, hips or legs are good to try.
3 – Pain relief is fine if needed
At my clinic I help people get over their problems WITHOUT them having to rely on painkillers but…….. if you need are on holidays and want to enjoy yourself, then taking some pain relief is fine.
So long as you as sensible about it and know what you are taking and don’t go crazy on them.
If your pain is bad it is fine to take them to help the pain calm down so you can try to stretch and move it to get to further calm down.
4 – Relaxed breathing
Anyone who has been to Midlands Physical Therapy for treatment will know the importance and role that the breath plays on tension around the back.
To help the muscles in your lower back relax the you need to get the whole body to relax.
Breathing calmly and quietly through your nose will help with this while also helping your diaphragm and pelvic floor to move. These are two muscles that have a big role to play in back.
5 – Be wary of sudden, quick movements.
Anyone who had had back pain will know how restricted your movements can be and how difficult it can be to do anything.
Any sudden or fast unexpected movements can cause the muscles to tighten up further which will restrict you more.
So takes things slow and steady until you start to free up a little and get to your physio when you get home so they can progress it in a gradual manner.
They say prevention is better than cure and if you are someone who gets trouble with their back, then I would recommend getting it checked out before you go on holidays if you are in any way concerned.
It can be easy for a little niggle to turn into it a sharp pain especially after the stress that is involved when travelling abroad and having to get on a plane.
If you are flying this summer and are concerned then do get in touch with us even if it’s just for a check up or ‘tune up’.
You can call the clinic on 09064 66761
Alternatively you can read about how we help people who have back pain by clicking the image below to download my free guide on beating back pain.
Click below to download it and learn about our 6 step system to beating back pain.?
Or click the link here https://midlandsphysio.ie/back-pain-guide