Tips to Prevent Back Pain On Holiday

In this article I am going to share with some tips to prevent back pain on holiday and some of the triggers that can cause back pain.

It’s that time of year where many of us are looking forward to our summer holidays. Especially as we’ve not had much warm, sunny weather in the UK this year, so far!

But did you know, according to a survey conducted by British Chiropractic Association a few years ago nearly half (48%) of British holiday makers experienced back or neck pain during their holidays.

This tends not to be due to injuries caused by physical sporting activities such as water sports, hiking, cycling etc, but more from the preparing for our holiday and inactivity when we are there.

So, let’s take a look at some of the possible triggers for our back pain whilst preparing to go on holiday.


Hazards Around Our Luggage

Things like getting our suitcases out of the loft, packing, lugging our cases in and out the car, pulling them through the airport and the dreaded lifting them quickly off the luggage carousel can all be possible triggers as these activities can all cause Back Strains

The Joys Of Travelling

Then there’s the travelling!

Car/train journeys and flights if you are going abroad.

Long hours sitting in confined spaces is harsh on our backs, which can result in backache or make back pain worse.

Then we arrive at our destination and start with the actual holiday triggers.

Beds and pillows being too hard or too soft and not being supportive.

Inactivity such as sunbathing, followed quickly by a dip in the pool or sea or some other activity such as watersports, games etc.

And the worse culprit in my experience, are the Sunbeds!

Lying still for ages sunbathing can cause a stiff achy back. Then add in trying to read (especially laid on your tummy) and you are notching the postural issues up a gear.

Putting pressure on your neck, shoulders and back will lead to aches and pains.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain On Holiday

  • Where possible pack in advance to avoid the stress of rushing around last minute and place the suitcase at a suitable height to reduce bending.
  • Use the lightest, smallest case/bag you can, with wheels. As most cases weigh a lot even when empty.If possible, push your suitcase instead of pulling. This stops you having to twist your back.  Some new style suitcases have four wheels which allow you to push from the side, which is even better.
  • When lifting your cases/bags ensure you practice a safe lifting technique. Bend your knees and keep the case/bag close to your body.
  • Use a ruck sack rather than a handbag as these can be carried equally across the back rather than one shoulder.
  • When driving to your holiday destination or to the airport ensure you have a good supportive seated position.


Check out this video in our Private Facebook Group where I share how to set this up

  • Also take regular breaks to stop and stretch your legs. At least every 2 hours. You could also do a few mobility exercises for your shoulders, neck and spine.


Check out our Guides folder in our Facebook group for exercises you could choose from


  • Flying can be a nightmare, due to cramped conditions. Where possible opt for seats with extra leg room, especially if you are tall and have long legs.


  • Try and sit in an upright position with your knees bent at a right angle, feet flat on the ground and knees about the same height as your hips. Use a pillow to sit on if needed or prop up your feet, as this keeps stress off the lower back.
  • If possible and you have room perform simple mobility exercises for your spine, shoulder, neck whilst seated. You could also keep active with a few ankle circles, butt squeezes etc. And whenever you get chance get up from your seat and stretch your legs.
  • If you tend to sleep or dose when travelling, consider using a travel pillow to reduce tension on your neck.
  • If you read when travelling, try to bring the book up to eye level rather than constantly looking down, as this can also causes neck and upper back pain
  • When you get to the hotel, if your bed is too hard, ask a soft blanket to put between you and the mattress. If pillows are not supportive, ask for extra
  • Don’t lie on a sunbed for long periods of time without a break. No longer than 30 minutes on your back and 15 minutes on your front.
  • Regularly get up and move, pop to the toilet, have a dip in the pool, perform a few mobility exercises. Too much inactivity is guaranteed to cause you back pain.
  • If reading by the pool, don’t lie on your front with your back arching.

Try putting the book on the floor and read over the edge of the sunbed keeping your head and neck in a neutral position

  • Keep hydrated and drink lots of water, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Dehydration can exacerbate back pain.
  • Warm up correctly when being active and trying watersports or other physical activities, to avoid injuries.


  • Start your day with a short simple Pilates practice and a walk to keep you mobile. You will find lots of short Pilates video’s in our Private Facebook group

If you are a constant sufferer of back pain and get worse on holiday or when you return and go back to doing your daily activities please reach out. As we can help you to reduce your back pain and improve your core strength so you won’t suffer in the future.

Check out our 21 Day Pilates Programme below for more information on how we can help you get rid of your back pain.


Hope you use these tips to prevent back pain on your holiday and you have a fantastic pain free holiday.