Avoiding Back Pain During Summer Travels

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Sweet summertime – a time for beautiful sunsets across new horizons. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover a new beach town or hop on a plane to the Grand Canyon. While you’re relaxing on vacation, it’s important to make sure you come back feeling in better shape than when you left. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sitting for long hours in a car or on a plane can take a toll on your body. But there are a few ways you can make sure that your summer travels don’t leave you with pain.

Protect Your Neck

Sitting idly in a vehicle can encourage bad posture and put a strain on your neck and shoulders. Especially when on a long flight or car ride, it’s important to protect your neck. Prolonged strain on your neck could cause you to lose sleep and make you quite uncomfortable during your vacation. We can’t have that now, can we? There are a few key ways to keep your neck happy and healthy.
When in the car, it’s easy to hunch forward. Make sure you sit back in your seat and take advantage of your head rest. Your headrest should be placed so that it supports the entire back of your head and neck. Also, when you’re driving, be sure to keep your hands at 4 and 6 to keep your arms and shoulders from straining. If you’re relaxing as a passenger in a car or on a plane, try to always use a neck pillow to support you if you plan to nap. Letting your neck hang or even laying up against the door can damage your neck.

Protect Your Back

It’s easy to twist and turn your body when you’re locked into sitting for long periods of time. While you think you’re getting comfortable, you’re really just putting a strain on your back! We often see patients before and after long trips because of the toll it takes on the back. That being said, if you are mindful during your trip and protect your back properly, you can avoid pain.
Once again, the best advice we can give you is to sit up straight! It’s easy to slouch or want to change positions during your ride. Sitting up straight with your feet flat on the ground is the best way to protect your back. Car seats don’t always have the best lumbar support, so bringing a lumbar pillow to relieve the pressure on your lower back is a helpful technique as well.
Finally, it’s important to stop frequently to stretch. We get it, you want to get to the beach as fast as you can. But is it really worth it for your back to be in pain by the time you get there? When possible, take frequent pit stops. Get up and move your legs to get the blood flowing and even do some stretches. Your back will thank you later.

Beware of Weekend Warrior Syndrome

It’s easy to get carried away with trying to cram as much activities as you can on vacation or even during a long weekend. If your job typically requires very little activity, you might put your body into shock by bursts of activities on the weekend or on your vacation. This is known as weekend warrior syndrome and is one of the most common sources of sudden acute back pain. Remember that it’s important to pace yourself. Maybe if you’re a little out of shape, you should skip risking your back only to wipe out after 30 seconds on a wakeboard. You can have plenty of fun relaxing and taking in the sights, and you won’t have to go back to work in pain!
If you do find yourself having difficulties getting through long trips, we’re here to help! Our doctors can provide spinal adjustments to your neck and back to get you back to feeling good and looking forward to your next adventure!

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