7 Ways to Beat Back Pain During Summer Travels
For many people, summer is the time to go on vacation. But, travel often includes cramped conditions and long trips that can be very hard on your back, even if you don’t have a history of back pain.
Here are seven ways to protect your back from pain while traveling by car or airplane this summer:
1) Support Your Lower Back While Driving
Make sure your knees are higher than your hips. If your car seat doesn’t offer adequate lumbar support, a wide variety of seat cushions, pillows, and other supportive products are available to make your trip more comfortable. Even rolling up a towel to create a makeshift cushion between your back and the seat can be effective. Also, make sure you’re not sitting on anything bulky — a wallet, money clip, book, or cell phone — that can throw off your posture and aggravate back pain.
2) Give Yourself Enough Room
A comfortable, roomy, first-class airline seat may be a luxury many people cannot afford, and coach seats are often cramped, restrictive, and offer little support for your back. For greater comfort, while traveling in coach, request an aisle seat that will make it easier for you to get up and move around. If your airline offers special deals on seats with extra legroom, take advantage of them, especially if you’re tall. Keep adequate space for your feet under the seat in front of you, even if this means putting your carry-on bag in the overhead bin.
3) Take Breaks and Move
When traveling by car, stop at rest stops and towns along the way so you can stretch and move around. You can even stretch in the car. Likewise, when traveling by air, try to walk the aisle every 30 minutes, especially if you’re on a long flight. Not on a direct flight? Use layover time to stretch or even take a walk around the terminal, particularly if you have a long flight ahead of you.
4) Pack Light
Opt for rolling luggage and pack as little as possible. At the luggage carousel, hotel, or parking garage, don’t be afraid to ask for help picking up your bags. Always take your time and keep your back straight, lifting with your legs.
For electronics and personal items, pick the smallest bag possible and choose a backpack or a messenger bag worn diagonally across the body. This helps balance the weight on the shoulders, unlike totes and duffel bags that rest on one shoulder and can cause your spine to curve. When using a single-strap bag, switch sides often to spare your back.
5) Pay Attention to Your Posture
If you want your car trip or flight to be a bearable experience, focus on your posture. Try to keep both feet on the floor and sit upright. For air travelers, most airlines offer pillows to passengers. Try tucking one behind your lower back: lumbar support has been shown to improve comfort in healthy patients with lower back pain.
6) Drink Plenty of Water
Air travel dehydrates the body because of the very low humidity levels in pressurized air cabins. Alcohol, coffee, and tea encourage further dehydration, so try to drink water, which will rehydrate the body and help prevent circulatory problems.
7) Don’t Forget the Ice
Bring ice packs in a cooler to relieve pain on the road, and an empty ice bag for air travel (you can request ice from the flight crew). If you ice your back, remember to do so for no longer than 15 minutes at a time and make sure there is a barrier between the ice and your skin.
Enjoy Your Journey!
When it comes to pain-free summer traveling, the journey is just as important as the destination, and these precautions will help prevent pain and allow you to thoroughly enjoy your time away.
If despite your best efforts you come back from vacation with a painful back, we’re here to help. Contact Tuck Chiropractic Clinic to schedule an appointment.
Image by gstockstudio / 123RF Stock Photo.
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