By: Dr. Ryan Lee
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also one of the busiest times to travel as more people pack up their luggage and head home for the holidays. While we love spending time with our family and seeing friends and loved ones from a-far, the traveling piece can be stressful and even painful.
Long hours spent sitting in uncomfortable seats, waiting in long lines and lugging heavy bags can make holiday travel challenging. Whether you’re traveling by plane, car, bus or train, there are some things you can do to avoid pain and be more comfortable. We’ve put together these tips to keep you safe while you’re traveling this holiday season.
Maintain Proper Posture
When you’re traveling long-distances, it’s easy to pick up bad habits- including slouching. When you slouch, you put extra pressure on your lower back, which can aggravate any existing pain you may be experiencing there. Pay attention to the way you’re seated or standing. Try not to slouch excessively, and if possible, use a head rest or pillow to keep your head from uncomfortable angles. A good sitting position will encourage you to keep your back straight, and can help prevent those aches and pains.
Take Breaks to Get Up, Move and Stretch
Make sure your take frequent breaks to get up and move around. If you’re taking young children on a trip, it’s a good idea to stop more often for bathroom breaks. Even if you’re on a long plane, standing up, or doing light stretches (when it’s safe to do so) can help you feel better. It’s important to get up and move around every so often to keep the blood flowing. Take a break at a rest area if you’re driving a long distance. If you’re on an airplane, you can stretch your legs by walking down the aisle. Arms and legs should be warmed up to prevent stiffness and back pain.
Pack Smart- Avoid Heavy Luggage
It can be difficult to pack light around the holidays. From extra gifts, to making sure you have appropriate shoes and clothes for various celebrations and outings, your luggage fills up fast. Carrying around large baggage while traveling can be physically exhausting. You’re putting a lot of strain on your back, shoulders, neck, and arms by dragging that big suitcase through the airport or in and out of the car. As you get ready to leave, give careful thought to what you need to take with you. When you’re traveling, be sure to switch which side you carry your luggage on often so that the weight is spread out evenly.
In order to alleviate strain on your lower back, some people find it more comfortable to transport their belongings in a high-quality backpack equipped with lumbar support. You can also get a suitcase with wheels so that you can easily wheel your luggage around. When you do have to lift your baggage, be careful and take proper precautions. Be sure to bend your legs and do not lift with you back. And don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it.
Make Your Seat More Comfortable
To keep your neck from getting sore on the trip, use a neck pillow (or a rolled-up blanket or towel if you don’t have one). Purchase a lumbar cushion contoured to your specific spine’s shape if lower back discomfort is an issue. If you’re driving, make sure your seat is at a comfortable height. If you lean forward too far, you can strain your neck and shoulders, leading to muscle soreness and spasms that may linger for days.
Air travel and travel in general can create an increased need for hydration. Not only do you experience physiological changes related to an increase in altitude and cabin pressure, but you can also be exposed to low moisture levels. Symptoms of dehydration may include dry or chapped skin, increased wrinkles, dry eyes, thirst, tiredness, low urine output, dry mouth, headache, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness.
Staying hydrated can help you with your energy levels, reduce jet-lag, and can help flush out toxins and prevent illness. So be sure to stay well hydrated while you’re traveling to keep yourself healthy and energized.
Visit Your Chiropractor and Massage Therapist
It’s a good idea to get adjusted by your chiropractor before and after any holiday travel plans. Your chiropractor can help you realign your spine so that it is strong and flexible enough to withstand the strain caused by traveling.
At Reach Health & Wellness in Collegedale, Tennessee, our goal is to ease our patients’ minds and bodies as they go on holiday journeys. We help our clients feel better through holistic care methods.
Do you have any upcoming trips planned? Now is a great time to schedule your pre and post trip appointments. And don’t forget to book a massage appointment too. The holidays can be busy and stressful. The good news is, we’re here to help you feel your best.
For additional information on avoiding back and neck pain this holiday season, or to schedule an appointment, give us a call today at (423) 498-3400.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here. *This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.