A very thorough assessment done very professionally. It put my mind at rest – the hard work starts now.
Matt, Maidenhead

Protecting Your Back Whilst on Holiday


With the Summer Sun calling a large amount of us are heading to mediterranean, tropical or similar climes! We just wanted to give you a little heads up on how you can help yourself protect your back from the beach towel and sun-bed/lounger.

Sitting, as we have spoken about in one of the other articles in this newsletter, puts us in a flexed position.  We are in this position for probably more time than we are out of it (drive/sit on way to work, at work, our journey home and during TV time), add it up and you will be surprised.  Lying and basking in the sun has us lying out straight with probably 50/50 split on lying on front & back.  Lying on our back is a pretty ordinary thing to do and not too much of a stress, but for the most of us lying on our front is somewhat more of a physiological challenge as our bodies are not conditioned to be in that position.

Let’s explore this a little more. When we do something for long enough (time/repetition) our body adapts to that stimulus.  Sitting by nature is repetitious and so therefore has a significant consequence. The muscles indicated in the picture below are some of the major muscles that we are talking about.  

In essence they become shortened.  When we lie on our front the shortened muscles don’t have the length to allow for a fully outstretched position and so place undue stress to the pelvis and lumbar spine.  To be more specific the lumbar discs get abnormally compressed, the facet joints are force closed and the sacroiliac joints are stressed.  This all sounds rather uncomfortable, as for many it is.

Self Help for a better Tan or Read

  • If lying on your back consider trying a rolled up two beach towel placed under both knees, so that your knees are slightly bent. This will reduce the load on your back. 
  • If sunbathing on your front, we recommended that you roll two beach towels, and place beneath your tummy. This will stop the lower back jamming together, which can be both painful and awkward. 
  • Break up prolonged sunbathing with brisk walking or swimming, as lying in one position for too long may cause a flare up of lower back conditions
  • Consider stretching your quads, hip flexors, adductors and abs on a regular basis 
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