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3 Essential ways to avoid Holiday Pains

Holiday and travelling can be a pain in the neck or the shoulder, literally.

Going on a holiday is meant to be relaxing for the mind, body and soul. Many of us, however, know that some trips can turn out to be quite the opposite. How many of us have returned from a break to find more stress and long hours grappling with the backlog at work and that persistent pain in your arm, neck or shoulder that just will not go away.  Most people would associate these issues to be work related due to extra hours at the desk. The real problem might have a closer correlation to your holiday than you think.

Some of the most common pains from holidays are back strain, upper limb nerve injuries and most commonly neck.

Our Senior Principal Physiotherapist, Chng Chye Tuan shares that during holidays, our aches and pains are often masked by the distraction of new sights and sounds and the adrenaline generated by the rush to meet our packed itineraries. It is quite common to feel it only upon a restful period or the problem can accumulate and carry over back to work. Hence, it is understandable why going back to work takes the blame.

These are the types of injury you may sustain from going on holidays

  1. Neck: Traction Mechanism. Neck injuries could possibly be caused by :
  • Hanging off injury – pulling of heavy bags or suitcase with out-stretched arm, pulling away from the neck from dangling heavy shopping bags.
  • Pillows, different beds, tight confined space, insufficient legroom, awkward posture from sleeping on the plane or on unfriendly beds and pillows.
  1. Shoulder: Rotator cuff strains which could possibly be attributed to from carrying luggage, shoulder pain from heaving heavy objects on the overhead compartments of airplanes lifting of heavy bags, e.g. to cabin overhead compartment, from platform to platform, shopping

Your Pain in the Neck

In the human body, the nerves from the base of the neck contribute to the Brachial Plexus, which supplies the nerves to the upper limbs.

Injuries to the neck can lead to symptoms that run down to the upper limb. It commonly shows up in the outer side of the forearm, wrists, shoulder & fingers. The nature of pain can vary from achy pain, weakness, pins & needles, numbness or even a lack of sensation.

A good physiotherapist will have to carefully diagnose, paying close attention to the patient’s recent activities and history to draw possible associations with various mechanisms and movement patterns that could be driving the symptoms.

For example, someone who experiences pain in the forearm or elbow may possibly be misdiagnosed with Tennis Elbow. The patient may think it could be due to excessive typing or from poor posture at work but in reality the work environment has not changed before or after the holiday and workload is essentially the same. In such a case, diagnosis might be a neck traction injury affecting the nerves of the upper limb brought about by lugging heavy suitcases and hanging bags off the shoulders for longer than usual periods of time.

Our team of physiotherapists apply a reasoning approach to identify the root of the problem by using diagnostic tests, which helps to differentiate one mechanism from another allowing them to focus on the real source of the problem.

Chye Tuan highlights: “We, the physiotherapists are the CSI for the human body. We troubleshoot the problem; we target the source, not just treating the symptoms.”

So what can I do about my holiday pains?

Chye Tuan would like to highlight the following few points:

  1. Treatment has to be directed specifically to the source of the pain (the neck) and not the area the pain is felt (the elbow).
  2. Physiotherapists unravel the mystery of your pain. Go and see someone to seek diagnosis of the source of pain and not just to seek relief from your pain.
  3. Usually people will leave it alone and hope that pain will go away spontaneously. If pain persists for more than 2 weeks, seek help from a trusted practitioner

3 Essential Tips to avoiding those holiday pains:

  1. Be Prepared: Do you have a “security blanket”?  Who says security blankets are only for the little ones. If it helps, bring along your favourite neck pillow or cushion to give yourself a better sleep on the plane or even on that unfamiliar bed and pillows in the hotel room to help avoid any awkward curling of the neck or shoulder just to get some rest.
  2. Exercise: Just because you are on holiday does not mean you can forget about your normal exercise routine. If possible, maintain your usual routines to help reduce abnormal muscular tension developing while coping with the strain of carrying of heavy suitcases and shopping.  Spending 30 mins or more in a hotel gym or going for long walks with good footwear will also provide you with mental health you need during the hustle and bustle of holidaying.
  3. Targeted stretches: while travelling, regularly do these few stretches, which will instantly reduce muscular tension on your neck and back. Here are some of the useful exercises Core Concepts have designed to reduce holiday pains. 

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I went in when i felt a sharp pain in my back that traveled to my left leg. For my first session with Slyvia, she asked me about my nature of the pain i felt and asked me to bend over. Immediately she could tell me what was causing the pain and that it was a small issue, easily fixed over a couple of sessions. There after she massaged the affected area to relieve the tension that was causing the pain. All this was done within a 30min session! After the first session my back was already alot better and i did not feel anymore sharp pain. Slyvia arranged additional massage therapy sessions that she felt i needed. The massage sessions were really good. For 1 hr they are able to get in the problematic areas i never knew i had issues with and massage all the tension out. I felt super relaxed after each session.Slyvia also arranged pilates sessions for me with Rohini to help me with how i was not bending down properly like i should, which was the reason why i felt pain as i was hinging from a particular spot on my back. Rohini was also aware that i have diastasis recti and focused on helping me build up a stronger core which also in turn helps my back. With each sessions it created a greater awareness of my own body and the bad habits that it has. Rohini also gave great advices when i told her i wanted to strengthen my upper back.Everyone in Core Concepts knows exactly what they are doing. It was such a great experience and different services work together brilliantly to help me heal and function properly.
Very professional and caring Therapists. My left foot has been hurting for a month. After 3 sessions, 80% of the pain is gone. I just need one more session and I think I should be fine. Thank you very much.
I had an excellent sports massage by Wan Ling, which was very different from the usual massage I've tried elsewhere. Wan Ling skillfully and systematically loosened every muscle in my upper back and neck over the course of an hour. If anyone is seeking relief from tense muscles, I would highly recommend making an appointment with Wan Ling.
Came to see Xue Ting with a broken shoulder for the last 6 weeks and was impressed with her attentiveness and ability to make me feel me feel comforted in my condition . Very dedicated and good therapist indeed .
They adopt a scientific and personal approach. The therapists put in a lot of effort to diagnose the issue before attending to it. Overall, I would strongly recommend their professionalism and methods.
Really good sports massage! Booking process was efficient too :)
Friendly and really professional service! I immediately felt welcomed the moment I stepped into the clinic! The physio offered me great advice beyond what I had asked, which allowed me to have a deeper understanding as to why I had my issue in the first place. With this kind of service, I would honestly recommend this physio if you are serious about getting better.
Thoughtful and sincere service. Highly recommended!
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Look for Soo, he is a great physiotherapist . Always communicating and always asking for my feedback. I’m on the right path to recovery all thanks to Soo. Two thumbs up.
Xue Ting has been working on my troublesome QL, hip girdle - basically the whole left lower kinetic chain! She has been patient, strong and cerebral in her approach to my 48 year old compensatory mechanisms. Her strong massage will finish with an assessment of muscle imbalance and poor activation with finally a retraining back to healthy movement.I’m impressed! Thanks Core Concepts!
I went from barely understanding physical therapy for injuries, to highly recommending Core Concepts to friends and family for their aches and pains. Ken was knowledgeable, patient and explained symptoms and consequences in a simple, relatable manner. I hope more people will come to understand how physio is a much better alternative to short-term painkillers.
Ken is really amazing!
The physiotherapist here explained the problem very well and provided me with exercises that helped improved my condition.
I have been experiencing great pain on my shoulder coupled with occasional numbness on my arm. Thanks to Ken Liew, I felt so much relieved after my first session. He was very patient and knowledgeable and had definitely made my 1st visit to a physiotherapy clinic a very memorable one. Thank you so much Ken
I have been experiencing knee pains lately especially walking up and down the stairs. The pain was so bad that I was very concern. I chanced upon CoreConcept on FB and book an appointment with them at Camden Medical Centre. My therapist was Ken Liew, he is very professional and knowledgeable. He did a thorough job to assess my condition. To my surprise I felt immediate relieved on my knee after the first session with him! Amazing! Looking forward to my next session. 😊
Hi I am Sally and I am in my late sixties. I have endured a year of thigh(joint) pains and thought that it must be due to old age. Visited Core Concepts at Novena and after only 2 sessions, my condition improved so much that I was able to climb stairs easily again. THANKS to my Physiotherapist Samuel Ong who is extremely polite, professional and knowledgeable.
I have had several sports related injuries and Core Concepts has saved me and put me "back to new" each times! The therapists are excellent - knowledgeable and professional, and the receptionists (Carol, Adiqah and Rin) are always friendly and helpful. They even give me oreo cookies for my children! :)
A very friendly and professional physiotherapist as well as receptionist within the clinic. Jordan Cave is very patient to help my right knee to recover.
Highly recommended for sports massage
Extremely friendly staff and therapists! Folks Novena Square are just simply smiley and happy. Coming here towards the end of the work day always brings up my mood. Therapist and coach are fabulous. My condition improve so much that I can even start to train up some of my predominately unrealized problems. Highly recommended!
I go to Novena and Cheryl is my therapist. She was upfront from the get go about my neck condition. I liked her honesty and said we'll give it a try. I was better after 4 weekly sessions and continued to go to her every 2 weeks. With her help I am in a better condition, had to put in effort on the exercises she taught me as well.
Li Hoong is a very dedicated sports massage therapist and functional trainer. Her ultimate goal is the client's holistic well-being. Highly recommend.
i have tried different physiotherapy sessions with almost 10 physiotherapists in india and in Singapore, my back pain was treated well by CHERYLL, with God's grace , i was pain free only after Cheryll attended to me. Thank you Cheryll and core concepts for the great experience.
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Very friendly and professional physiotherapist as well as receptionists within the clinic. Dr. Issac Wong is easy to approach and came up with alternative ways for me to strengthen my weak thigh muscles and it really helped in reducing my knee pain! Thanks :)
The best physiotherapist ever. Cheryl is really good. Doesn't shortchange me of time and make sure I feel better before she lets me go. The front desk staff are great too. Very accomodating and friendly. Thank you Carol and Farrah. Only thing if they can give instructions to how to go to their place will be great. Usually only unit number but do give some details like mrt exits and directions to lift and such will be excellent. Coz I almost got lost in 2 different places. Overall still love core concept because of Cheryl! Thank you Cheryl!!
Found out about Core Concepts last year through social media and made an appointment as i was experiencing some neck and shoulder discomfort after a traffic accident. My therapist was evidently experienced and was able to pinpoint the cause of my aches. The one thing i loved about my experience at Core Concepts is that they are not like typical physiotherapists who simply prescribe take home exercises, instead my therapist was extremely hands on, helping me to massage my neck at the right spots to relief the stiffness - best massage ever! Would highly recommend Core Concepts!!
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-emails with advertisement and birthday wishes came, but they didn't think that their customer (with 4/10 sessions remaining in his package) would have expected a reminder of ANY kind if his package was already expiring. I asked the clerk from my last visit how many sessions I had remaining, and she told me 4, with no update on the expiry at all. -assumed I wanted a physiotherapy (PT) appointment when my past SMS have always been for sports massage (SM); whenever I asked for "available slots", they would give me the slots for SM. yet they suddenly gave me the list of available slots for PT ytd. I'm also to blame for not verifying and reading their long SMS carefully.-their masseuse is very good though, skilful and respectful. They ask important questions to understand their client before starting on the SM. I'd still return even though the administrative process is lacking.
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