Tips to avoid back pain and other injuries on holiday

Back pain, knee strain and shoulder problems from injuries whilst on holiday is probably the last thing on your mind at this time of year. With the school holidays just around the corner many people are heading off to the sun for a bit of rest and relaxation on some wonderful beach. Injuring yourself on holiday is often the last thing that you think about but we see dozens of people every year who come back with more than just a suntan.
Here in the Brighton the long, hot days of summer can entice many people to spend their days at the beach, relaxing in the sun or splashing about in the waves. In recent times, there has been a growing trend towards participating in sport at the beach – whether it be grabbing a board and hitting the waves or forming a team of likeminded enthusiasts and organising an impromptu game of beach volleyball.
Naturally, with these kinds of activities, it is inevitable that at some point, injuries will occur. With spirits high and caution low, it is no wonder that accidents happen with people often taking less care than they perhaps should.The last thing anyone wants on holiday is an injury, particularly a serious one which can take weeks or even months to heal properly.
The following tips and advice will help to keep you safe and reduce your risk of injury so that you can carry on enjoying your summer and making use of the glorious sunshine.


Surfers can be prone to shoulder strain. When the shoulder is overused, through paddling and pushing yourself upwards it can lead to rotator cuff impingement and tendonitis. This is signalled by pain in the front shoulder and deltoid region. A chronic condition like this is commonly seen in beginner surfers due to poor paddling or in older surfers who have been paddling for years. If paddling becomes painful for your shoulder, or you notice swelling around the joint stop immediately and rest. This is the kind of injury that will only become worse the more you try and battle through it.
Older surfers should also beware as the risk of significant injury doubles for a surfer in his 40s or later compare to a surfer under 20 years old.


Swimming is a low impact activity and therefore one of the least dangerous sports in terms of the risk of suffering a sports injury. This is partly attributed to the relatively slow speed of movement, lack of contact and predictable environment. However, if you are not a regular swimmer, then the sudden increase in activity can result in an overuse injury.
Much like surfers, swimmers can develop Impingement Syndrome in their shoulder joints involving an inflammation of the rotator cuff.
As with surfing, make sure you stop if your shoulder starts to feel inflamed. If you are serious about your swimming, specific stretches and exercises can be done to strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the rotator cuff and make the shoulder more resistant to injury.
‘Breast-stroke’ knee is another common swimmers’ injury and presents as swelling and pain in the knee joint. It can be caused by poor technique or just overuse.
As before, make sure not to push your body above and beyond its natural limits. Pain is your body’s way of preventing you from causing any further damage, so make sure you heed its warnings!


Running along the beach can be one of the most invigorating forms of exercise around. It’s also one of the most effective. Running on sand will strengthen your ankles, arches and muscles below the knees. You will also burn 1.6 times more calories per mile on each run. On top of that, running on sand is less high impact so will be less damaging to your joints.
The downside of running on sand is that you are prone to certain injuries. Due to the uneven terrain, you can easily end up straining your Achilles tendon or calf muscles.
Barefoot running may be tempting but can lead to plantar fasciitis or ankle sprains because of the lack of support.
To reduce the risk of injury, try to run near low tide where the sand is softer, flatter and more shock-absorbent.

Beach Volleyball

When playing volleyball, you’ll most likely find yourself doing a lot of jumping and landing which can be very jarring to the body. Playing on sand will reduce the impact, compared to playing on a hard court but you should still be careful to bend your knees when you land to avoid knee and ankle injuries.

Don’t try to hit the ball as hard as you can every time it comes anywhere near you – this is a surefire route to shoulder and back injuries. Vary your pace and don’t get too carried away in the spirit of the game.
It may only be a casual game, but you should still do some gentle stretching to warm up your muscles before you begin. A game of volleyball can be filled with sudden movement and lunges, which can be extremely painful and dangerous if your muscles aren’t ready for it.
Ask your us for further advice you are suffering from pain you suspect has been caused by these or similar activities.

Sundial chiropractor takes up ballet

Amanda has decided to take up ballet again after a break of more than 20 years. Ballet dancers are prone to injuries, especially of the feet and ankles but also of the back.  Osteo-arthritis is common and often leads to pain and disability later in life. Amanda hopes to learn ballet again whilst bringing her chiropractic knowledge to it so that these problems can be avoided.  Read about her journey here