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As exam season comes to an end an estimated 150,000 young people will be opting to take a gap year this summer. As the most popular season for people to head off in search of fun filled adventure July will see around half of all single travellers embarking on trips of a lifetime.

As thousands of students opt to ‘broaden their horizons’ in favour of entering the world of work, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is advising budding back packers of the potential postural pitfalls when travelling and the implications of carrying a ‘house’ on your back for long periods of time.

Tim Hutchful from the BCA emphasises that it is not just the extreme activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving that can pose a risk for travellers: “One of the most important factors to get right is your back pack, which will be with you everywhere you go! It is essential that people go to a specialist and make sure that they are equipped with a back pack that fits them properly and isn’t going to strain the back or neck.“

He continues: “As obvious as it sounds it is equally as important that you only pack what you need, to avoid carrying excess weight around for long periods of time. Many travellers can be carrying bags which weigh 50% of their own body weight.”

As more and more people choose to travel the world the BCA has put together some top tips to make sure it’s only your bank balance that takes the strain……

• Bag the best - choose wisely, buy the lightest bag possible and make sure that it is designed to take more weight in the centre of your back

• Get a good night’s sleep - travelling when tired increases your chances of injury so make sure you sleep well the night before a flight and avoid rushing around

• Air-exercise - you will be restricted to your seat for most of the flight but avoid stiffness by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles

• Flying high - If you’re flying, drink plenty of soft drinks during the flight as alcohol, as this will cause dehydration, which can aggravate muscle pain

• Pack a pillow - Most backpackers will stay in an array of hostels and beach huts with old and bad quality beds. Although hard beds are not necessarily comfortable they are easier to make softer by putting a bed roll across. Many backpackers often find themselves camping so it is important that you have all of the correct equipment to make for a comfortable nights sleep (sleeping on a cold/uneven ground/carry mat)

• Fine dining: Be sensible with what you eat and drink to avoid food poisoning as not only can the action of vomiting strain your back but dehydration can cause musculoskeletal pain

For more information, visit: www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk or call 0118 950 5950.

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Press enquiries: Sara Bailey/Liz Harding/Julie Doyle, Publicasity Tel: 020 7632 2400, Fax: 020 7240 2520 Email: sbailey@publicasity.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine.

The BCA represents well over 50% of UK chiropractors. Chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession regulated by the General Chiropractic Council. Members of the BCA must abide by the GCC’s Code of Conduct and Standard of Proficiency. The association only accepts graduates who have gone through a minimum four-year full-time internationally accredited degree course at an internationally recognised college of chiropractic education. Chiropractic care offers hands on pain management and focuses on muscles, joints and nerves. Chiropractic is suitable for all ages and can help with a wide range of aches and pains from head to toe. Chiropractors use their hands to ‘adjust’ or ‘manipulate’ the spine and joints where signs of restriction in movement are found and can also involve working on muscles. This restores normal function to the affected muscles, joints and nerves allowing the body to then get on with the job of healing itself.

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