Traveling Soon? These Chiropractic Tips Will Help Make Your Trip Pain-Free
After spending hours in a car or plane, muscles and joints become stiff and sore, making pain an unfortunate consequence of traveling for many people. If you usually spend the first day or two of your trip in pain, these tips will help you avoid travel-related discomfort.
Your body wasn't designed to endure hours of sitting. Remaining in one position for too long affects your posture and may strain your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Frequent breaks reduce stress on bones and tissues and may help you avoid post-trip pain. If you're traveling by car, stop every hour for brief stretching breaks. If you can't stop frequently, schedule rest stops at least every few hours.
Traveling by train or plane? Although frequent rest stops won't be possible, you can keep your body loose and limber by taking a few laps up and down the aisles every hour.
Stretch It Out
Stretching before, during and after your trip works out the kinks, relaxes your muscles, and increases blood flow to your muscles and joints, helping you avoid neck and back pain.
During your trip, try a few simple seated exercises. Roll your shoulders back and forth, move your neck from side to side, lift your legs, and roll your ankles in small circles. If there's room, extend your arms above your head and perform a few vertical punches.
Make Good Posture a Priority
When it's vacation time, your posture is probably the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, failing to maintain good posture when you're traveling practically guarantees that you'll be achy and irritable when you arrive at your destination. Remind yourself to sit up straight in your seat with both feet firmly on the floor.
It's amazing how much stuff your luggage can hold, even if it looks completely full. Unfortunately, the heavier your bag, the more likely you'll strain or injure muscles, joints, and tissues in your neck or back when you remove it from the trunk or try to hoist it into an overhead compartment.
Before you leave home, pick up your bag. If you can't lift it without straining, it's best to reevaluate which things you absolutely need and which can be removed or placed in another bag. Packing light not only prevents injury, but also helps you avoid additional fees for overweight luggage if you're flying.
Bend your knees, and use your leg muscles, not your back muscles, when lifting luggage or placing it in the overhead compartment in a plane, train, or bus. Spine Universe recommends placing your luggage on the seat first, then moving it into the overhead compartment rather than lifting your bag in one movement.
Make Your Seat More Comfortable
Does your head wobble because you're too short for your car's headrest? Or is the problem that you're just too tall for the seat to adequately support you? Both problems may mean that you'll end your trip with a pain in your neck.
Use a neck cushion or pillow (or a rolled-up travel blanket or towel in a pinch) to support your neck during your trip. If lower back pain is a problem for you, buy a lumbar cushion designed to fit and support the curve of your back.
If you're driving, make sure your seat is high enough. According to Geico, your eyes should be at least three inches above the steering wheel. Sit back when you drive. Leaning forward will strain your neck and shoulders and cause muscle pain and spasms that could last for days.
Visit the Chiropractor
Avoiding travel-related aches and pains can be as easy as making an appointment with your chiropractor before your trip. You're more likely to experience pain or an injury if your muscles are already tight or your spine is misaligned. Treatments like spinal manipulation, massage and soft tissue mobilization realign your spine, improve your posture, and keep your muscles and tissues loose and flexible.
Visiting the chiropractor when you get home can prevent minor pain or soreness from becoming major problems. During your visit, your chiropractor will look for misaligned vertebrae, tight tissues and knots and offer treatments that will make returning home a much more pleasant experience.
Do you have a trip planned soon? Now's the perfect time to schedule your pre- and post-trip chiropractic appointments. Contact our office to make your appointment.
Geico: Why Your Driving Posture Matters
SPINE-Health: 7 Tips to Alleviate Back Pain on Your Road Trips, 9/12/2019
Arthritis Foundation: 8 Tips for Pain-Free Travel
Spine Universe: Sitting Disease and Its Impact on Your Spine, Mar 14, 2019