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How to travel in comfort and avoid injury during a holiday

Great weather is finally here and most people are contemplating going away on holidays over the summer. If you’re going away to a far-flung location – you lucky thing! Make sure you read Maroubra Road Physiotherapy’s comprehensive guide to staying safe and looking after yourself and your family overseas.

Between 2016-2017 the Australian government’s consular services supported 1,701 Australians who got into trouble and were hospitalised far from home. In this article, we will provide you with a run-down of all the things you should consider to avoid injuries this silly season.

Choose a destination that’s safe

Some parts of the world are statistically more high risk for a holiday than others. Things that we take for granted in Australia like safe roads, law and order and political stability often don’t apply in other parts of the world. The Australian government’s Safe Traveller website can give you up-to-date safety insights for your dream destination.   

What to avoid on your next holiday

Here’s some food for thought, According to Bupa, these are the most common injuries or illnesses suffered by Australian tourists at popular tourist destinations. It’s worth keeping this in mind.

 

  • Thailand: Head Injuries from motorcycle and scooter accidents.  
  • Indonesia/Bali: Gastroenteritis.
  • France: Cycling accidents.
  • Singapore: Rabies and bacterial infections as a result of monkey bites.
  • Philippines: Parasitic water-borne viruses.
  • China and Mongolia: Respiratory and breathing problems.

 

Know your physical limitations

Often when we go on holidays, we can feel temporarily invincible. We’re away from the normal working week, so we feel more energised and bolder than usual. Holidays are often times when we try risky activities like free-diving, surfing in turbulent waters, mountain climbing or something else that tests our physical limits. This can be a grave mistake when not prepared for it and may result in injury or even worse!

Mentally you may feel emboldened by your sudden energy, but actually, you haven’t trained in the lead-up to your physically challenging activity and have overestimated your fitness. This is when strains, sprains, sporting injuries and back injuries often happen. In planning your adventure in the months prior, you should gradually increase your fitness levels and choose sport specific exercises that use the same muscle groups as your chosen activity. A personal trainer or physiotherapist will be able to provide advice for this.  

Advice for long-haul flights

Part of Australia’s charm is the multi-cultural diversity of its population.  For some people, this may mean up to 28 hours on a flight to get to their loved ones over Christmas. Long-haul flights can be the most boring and gruelling part of a holiday. You can make traipsing across multiple time-zones more enjoyable and less painful by following this advice.  

 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine on the flight. Along with the pressurised cabin, these drinks will dehydrate you and leave you feeling more tired than you otherwise would.
  • Try and get some shut eye. Many people often take a sedative like Ambien or Valium on a long-haul flight. Yes you will probably sleep, but when you arrive, you will still feel groggy and half-asleep, which isn’t fun.
  • Invest in a decent pair of noise-cancellation headphones. These are designed to block out all ambient noise. You can comfortably listen to a relaxing album or podcast until you fall asleep. Planes are surprisingly loud. Blocking out all the ambient noise will make a long-haul flight far less stressful and tiring.     
  • Drink a lot of water to rehydrate your body. Before, during and after your flight, staying hydrated will make you feel more energised.
  • Don’t stay stationary for long periods of time. Instead, get up every hour, move and stretch.

 

Stretches on the plane

The key to feeling great after a flight is to do some leg work. Hours staying stationery in a confined place will mean that your blood becomes stagnated in the body causing swelling in the feet and ankles and in some cases, resulting in the dangerous DVT or deep vein thrombosis.

1. Fifteen calf raises every few hours

You should do some in-seat stretches every hour or two. A calf raise involves pushing up onto your toes and engaging your calf muscles. Then, if space allows, lift your legs so they are outstretched in front of you and flex your feet, hold for 20 seconds, and repeat.

2. Hamstring and glute exercise every hour  

The muscles in your hamstrings and glutes naturally shorten on a flight when you are stationery for many hours. This can cause pain and soreness in your lower torso. To help relieve soreness and pain, put your heel up onto the top of your opposite knee and push down on your leg to get a good stretch in your glute.

 

3. Neck and shoulder exercise every hour

Sitting down in a cramped position for many hours always leads to tension in the neck and shoulders. To alleviate this, do five shoulder rolls forward and then five backward, then turn your neck to the right and back to the centre five times and then turn it to the left and back to the centre 5 times. Try and do this every hour.

4. After your flight

Walking through the terminal after the long flight will help to loosen and warm up your muscles again. Then once you arrive in your hotel (Phew, finally!) you should do a gentle stretching or a gentle yoga routine to release tension in the legs, hips and lower back. This will help to re-energise you, help with jetlag and prepare you for sleep. For more advice on stretching and pain relieving exercises, speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy can help

If you arrive back in Sydney after a holiday full of aches and pains, book an appointment today with our friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you like and share this with someone on Facebook who is going on holiday soon. Bon Voyage!

 

Six tips for avoiding injuries during the silly season

 

During Christmas, a cocktail of stress, excitement and tiredness can take hold. In this environment, accidents can easily happen. However with some careful planning, many accidents can be avoided. In this guide by Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, our expert physiotherapy team will talk you through some smart solutions for the silly season.

1. Give gifts that encourage physical activity

 

According to the 2018 Active Kids Australia Healthy Report Card, only 13% of children (aged 15-17 years old); along with 23-64% of primary school aged children did an hour of muscle and bone strengthening activities each day.

 

This is concerning because it shows that kids are more excited by stationary, gaming and computer-based activities. No surprises there! To remedy this, we recommend buying sports-related gifts this Christmas and involving the whole family in fun backyard sports challenges.  This can often be a fun way to inspire the kids.

2. Kids need adequate protective gear for sports  

 

There’s nothing wrong with letting your children loose for a bit of rough and tumble play. Although it’s important to mitigate against accident risks too. If you bought your child a bike, skateboard, or a pair of rollerblades for Christmas, then It’s always a good idea to invest in a helmet, along with protective knee and elbow pads to protect them on their roving adventures.

3. Taking a break from sport over Christmas

 

If you regularly play sport and stop training over the Christmas break, your body will lose strength and muscle condition. This may result in a higher risk of sports-related injuries when you return to training.

 

It would not be wise to go straight into your regular boxing, weight-lifting, cardio or running program after the Christmas break. Your unprepared body may have other ideas and may protest in the form of a sprain, strain or sporting injury.

 

Instead of allowing your body to lose muscle condition and strength over Christmas, you could substitute the gym with going for daily walks or swimming in the ocean. When you return to your workout program after Christmas, you could try a gradually tapered training program that increases in intensity over a number of weeks to avoid injury and get you back to your original fitness levels.

 

Also, don’t forget about warming up and cooling down with each workout to prevent injury as well. For more advice on sports injuries, speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

 

4. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption

 

Alcohol is usually the chief mischief-maker and reason for many people’s Boxing Day regrets.

 

One 2018 study by Monash University in Melbourne analysed eight hospital Emergency Rooms across Australia and New Zealand. The study screened nearly 8,500 patients seen over a seven day period in December 2014.  Of these, 801 presentations in the ER (or 9.5%) were identified as being alcohol-related. These people went a bit overboard on the partying and as a result their decision-making, motor coordination and cognitive ability was impaired, resulting in accidents and injuries.

 

5. Avoid Kitchen calamities

 

Boiling water, sharp knives and heavy objects can make your kitchen a hazardous place during the Christmas period. It’s always a good idea to keep the kids out of the kitchen and to avoid having alcohol yourself until you’ve finished with cooking. Also it’s wise to clean up spills as they occur to avoid slips and falls.

6. Don’t ignore pain

 

According to the Australian Pain Management Association, If you have problems with chronic pain, then Christmas can sometimes be a rather intense and demanding time. You might be expected to pitch in with tasks like shopping, cooking or preparing meals.

 

Remember to ask your family members and friends for help with these daily tasks. Also,  you should ask for their understanding if you’re experiencing pain. Remember to do your stretching exercises. Often these gentle movements will lessen the pain. For a detailed and personalised stretching program that will help you with chronic pain, you can speak with us  at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

Over the years we have seen many different Christmas related injuries at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy, from drunken falls down the stairs, to daring dad’s trying out their kid’s skateboards and falling off. If you would like some advice on managing pain or injury during Christmas, please give us a call today on (02) 9314 3888.

To move or not to move: Is movement helping or hindering your recovery?

To move or not to move: Is movement helping or hindering your recovery?

If you have sprained your ankle, torn your ACL or slipped a herniated disc, you will be familiar with the saying ‘make pain your friend’. Pain can be a horrible companion though, keeping you laid up on the sofa with day-time TV as your miserable companion. It can also be the key to understanding when you are ready again for exercise and when you still need to recuperate.

It can be incredibly frustrating to be out of action for weeks and sometimes even months! However injury recovery time is essential to ensure that you don’t stay on the couch for even longer periods. Here are some pointers for when you should resume exercise, and when to take it easy following an injury. Every injury is different, so it is advisable to discuss these suggestions with your physiotherapist to make sure they apply to you.

Listen to your body and respect it

This is easier said than done, All you want to do is get out there and pound the pavement or get on your bike to resume your workout regimen.

However by listening to subtle (and not so subtle) signals that your body is giving you, and then acting accordingly, you are going to prevent worsening your injury.

After having a rest period, your injured body will now be in a weaker and more vulnerable state. Going from zero to 100 straight away is not a wise move. After a strain, sprain or sporting injury you need to ease back into it.

A return to exercise after an injury needs to be carefully managed by a physiotherapist. However an example of a return to exercise may initially include low-impact exercise like yoga, stretching and walking. Then after a week or two and no obvious signs of pain, you could increase the frequency and intensity of your daily routine. Perhaps you could try a 3 km slow jog twice per week. Although in any case with an injury, it is best to be assessed by a physiotherapist or other healthcare professional for a tailored programme.

Listen for signs

During any physical activity post-injury, listen out for pain in your body. This will indicate when you should ease up on exercise or stop altogether. Pain is an obvious and clear signal that you have done too much too soon.

Begin with low-impact exercises

Walking is the most natural type of body movement. It’s what we humans were born to do. A gentle walk can be a low impact way to stay active. Swimming and yoga are also low impact choices for stretching out your muscles and gaining strength following an injury.

Try balance and strength exercises

Pilates, yoga and other strengthening exercises are great for improving your posture, muscle strength and core strength. You would be surprised at how many muscle injuries occur due to a lack of core abdominal strength. Exercises that promote abdominal strength are vital for preventing many strain and sprain injuries. You should consider integrating balance and strengthening exercises into your injury recovery, this will help you in the long-term.

Avoid high impact and weight-bearing exercises

Weight-bearing exercises should be avoided following an ankle or leg injury to avoid the chances of worsening your condition. Not only should you put down the hand-weights, you should also avoid high impact exercises and high impact cardio like running, basketball and netball which take a heavy toll on the joints for the same reason.

Eat well, sleep well and stay hydrated.

Food, sleep and hydration play a critical role in accelerating or hampering your recovery time after an injury. You should therefore avoid fatty, sugary and processed foods in favour of fresh fruit, vegetables and grains. If you must eat meat, make sure it is a lean cut of fresh meat.Try and avoid alcohol because it won’t help your body to heal itself. Conversely, good old water is going to help your body’s tissues to heal quicker by keeping them hydrated. A decent night’s rest every night can also have a positive impact on your recovery time.

See a friendly and caring physiotherapist

A physiotherapist will assess your current physical state and give you deep insights into your prospective recovery time. Many factors including your age, health, fitness and how long you have been injured and immobile will influence the length of time you take to recover.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy is made up of experienced, caring and friendly physiotherapists who are passionate about helping the local community. We take a holistic approach to looking after people and see the whole person, rather than just the injury. We create step-by-step programmes that are uniquely tailored to your circumstances and needs. The team get a real thrill out of seeing people get back on their feet again and back into healthy exercise and living a full life.

Getting a physiotherapy assessment will help to ensure that you don’t worsen the injury or lengthen your recovery time unnecessarily. It also means you are recovering from injury in a personalised way that is safe and beneficial to your health. Speak with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today to book an appointment on (02) 9314 3888.