Summer is the perfect time to travel. Whether it’s sightseeing road trips or long plane rides, traveling means extra hours spent sitting. Prolonged sitting in a car or on a plane can wreak havoc on your back. Mild to excruciating pain makes it difficult to walk, stand, or participate in physical activities. Don’t let back pain get in the way of your fun. We at Innovative Health & Wellness want you to enjoy your summer travels to the fullest. Therefore, we’ve compiled a few suggestions to help you prevent travel aches this summer.
Travel Light & Be Careful When Lifting
Packing for a vacation can be one heck of an undertaking. Yet packing efficiently can save your neck and back when lifting your luggage. For most airlines, the maximum size for carry-ons is 45 inches, which is still a lot to lift overhead when your bag is packed to the brim. Also, check all bags that weigh more than five to ten percent of your body weight. Try to maintain good posture when lifting your luggage. Lift with your legs, not your back. If your luggage is too heavy or awkward to lift, ask for help. Here are some tips to follow when lifting your luggage:
- Feel free to stretch lightly before and after lifting.
- Get your body as close as possible to your baggage.
- Position your feet at least shoulder width apart for maximum stability; a narrow stance sets you up for instability that can cause injury.
- Engage your core for spinal stability and low back injury prevention. When the deep core muscles are activated, the superficial spinal muscles will be less engaged, preventing you from straining them.
- Remember, your leg muscles are stronger than your back muscles. Bend your knees and hips while keeping your back straight as you lift the object.
- Be sure to breathe! Take a breath before lifting, exhaling as you lift.
Bring Your Own Back Support
A good lumbar support for your lower back reduces pain and aches caused by sitting. Back supports are usually lightweight, and fit easily into most car and airplane seats. Bring along over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen to help minimize inflammation triggered by prolonged sitting. Additionally, you might also pack topical pain-relief gels or creams like Biofreeze, Sombra, or Bengay for fast relief. Icing your back after a long day of travel helps reduce pain, soreness, and inflammation.
Get Moving and Hydrate
Remaining in a static position for extended amounts of time places added stress on your spine, causing pain and muscle stiffness. Standing for a few minutes helps relieve pressure on the spine, whereas walking around and stretching helps get the blood flowing. Drink lots of water while you’re traveling to replenish your muscles with nutrients and oxygen.
We at Innovative Health & Wellness hope these tips will help keep you healthy and happy during your travels this summer. Schedule a chiropractic appointment with our health experts prior to, and upon returning from, your vacation to maintain peak health and wellness. We look forward to helping you heal and hope you enjoy your summer adventures!