Tips for Reducing Back Pain While Traveling

Tips for Reducing Back Pain While Traveling

Traveling for work or vacation can be exciting! You can get relax, enjoy the company with you, and listen to your favorite music or audiobook.  However, if you suffer from low back pain…traveling can be a dreaded experience. Here are some tips to try and reduce present back pain or even prevent pain from occurring while traveling.

Before You Start Traveling

Sometimes when loading the car with supplies or lugging your suitcase through the airport, your back pain can already be starting.

  1. Proper lifting techniques – when lifting the suitcase or other items, be sure to contract your abdominal muscles toward your spine with about 10% of your strength to activate your natural back brace. Bend your knees and keep your spine straight. Keep the object close to your body to avoid extreme reaching.
  2. Stretch – perform simple, easy back stretches to warm up those muscles before having to sit for long periods of time. Yoga and walking are great ways to prepare for a long ride!
  3. Prepare – think ahead! Think about the activities you are going to be indulging in when you get to your destination. Pack a heating pad or ice pack, your favorite pillow, and any pain management creams or capsules that help you best…just in case a flare up occurs.

Prepare to be Comfortable During Traveling

While car or plane seats may not be the most spacious or comfortable options, try to think about what will help support your back, hips, shoulders, and head.

  1. Wear comfortable clothing – avoid wearing restricting clothing that will prevent you from changing positions or gently stretching in the seat. Movement is your best friend when having to sit in the same position for a long time!
  2. Keep your pockets empty – avoid sitting on your wallet and cell phone.
  3. Adjust your seat – keep your car or plane seat in an upright position with your back resting against the back of the seat. Adding a towel, pillow, or lumbar support to the back of your seat may be needed to best support your natural curve. Ensure your shoulders remain in the “back and down” position to avoid having them roll forward, encouraging your head to push forward.
  4. Pack a neck pillow – if you are traveling long enough to where you will be sleeping in the car, be sure to pack a pillow for your neck. The pillow supports the head and neck and keeps the spine aligned.

Schedule Travel Breaks

While in the car, plan regular stops every 30-60 minutes. If flying, set a timer for every 30-60 minutes and take a walk up and down the aisle.

  1. Move around – get out of the car and walk around. Perform yoga stretching and/or simple stretches you are familiar with. Even if flying, taking a walk up and down the aisle will beneficial. Oxygen and blood flow increases to the muscles, allowing them to relax and prevent further complications such as blood clots.
  2. Change your seat position – while ensuring to maintain proper support of your back curves, altering the seat a position a few degrees can help decrease/prevent pain as well.

Plan for Different Sleeping Arrangements

Sleeping in a different bed can increase pain. Some beds are more firm while others are soft and plush.

  1. Pack extra pillows and blankets to make a firm bed softer.
  2. Try putting a pillow between your knees or under your knees when laying down to keep the pelvis level.
  3. Pack your own pillow from home so your neck is adequately supported like you are used to at home.
  4. Stretch right before bed and again when you wake up…keep those muscles loose!

Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic

Vacations, work trips, and weekend getaways are a fun way to see the world and make new memories! These fun trips do not have to cause you increased back pain. Chiropractic care before and after travel can help reduce present pain and prevent pain from occurring. Proper alignment of the spine and proper balance of the musculature helps encourage normal motion and decrease pain and inflammation. Call us today to schedule and be well on your way to enjoying your travels and making memories with your loved ones!

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