Back pain can ruin your vacation before you even unpack your bags. This is especially true if sitting with a flexed spine during the flight a long flight or road trip. While we can’t do much about those cramped airline seats or keep the kids from fighting or whining in the backseat, we can offer some advice on common travel pitfalls. Most essential? Don’t let your good habits go on holiday just because you’re out of town!
Remove Back Pain from the Baggage Claim
Too often, back pain starts at the beginning of a trip. Heavy luggage requires proper lifting techniques just like household or work lifting. Lift from the hips and legs and not by bending the back and forceful tugging. Angles aren’t the best when lifting bags off a moving carousel. Wait for the carousel to stop before attempting to lift your bags. If that is not possible, asking some to help you lift your bag together can help distribute the weight. Another tip? While you may save a baggage fee by loading all your weight in one large bag, consider the efficiency of that bag throughout your trip. Will you be forced to carry it on multiple stops? Load it onto trains? Carry it upstairs? A $25-dollar savings doesn’t matter if you miss your deep-sea fishing trip due to back pain.
Don’t Shove That Bag
Speaking of luggage, we often see potentially disastrous behavior in long hotel, baggage-check and customs lines. Shoving those bags along with your knees may seem like a good way to conserve effort, but it’s actually great way to injure your hip and lower back. Luggage with multi-direction wheels improved their motion for a reason: use them! Make certain to keep your shoulders and hips in alignment and avoid twisting your back as you guide luggage on all four wheels. Try to keep bags upright and avoid pulling at an angle whenever possible as well.
Keep Those Feet Firmly Planted When in the Air
Bringing a small bag to place underneath the seat in front of you not only keeps belonging handy but also provides a great foot rest during a flight. If you are unable to rest your feet flat on the plane’s floor when seated, books, computer bags and handbags offer great support. Also remember to get up and occasionally move about the cabin, especially on long flights. Move at least once an hour. This goes for car trips as well. An easy way to achieve this? Drink plenty of water throughout your trip. Not only will it help you to stay hydrated, but those trips to the bathroom benefit you through forced movement.
When you arrive at your destination, delay finding the ice machine a few minutes to stretch. This is particularly important for the hip, shoulders, neck and middle back. We’ll be happy to provide you with a list of post-travel stretches. Already on the road? Try a few of these. We recommend only 1-3 on Method 1, 1-2 on Method 2 and 1 and 3 on Method 3. A brief post-stretch walk continues to loosen up stiff areas and prepare you for rest of your trip. If you can avoid it, delay going straight to bed after a long trip. Motion serves your body well after being cooped up in a plane, train or car.
Vacations offer a chance to relax and rid yourself of tension. By following a few tips, you can prevent injuries from tagging along. And, don’t forget to set up that post-trip chiropractic appointment here. We’ll help your body recover from all that fun and exertion. Have a safe trip, and we’ll see you soon at Financial District Chiropractic!