The holidays are here, and more people than ever will be traveling to see their loved ones. In 2017, USA Today estimated that 107.3 million people would be traveling for the holidays—a record-breaking number.
For many people who deal with neck or back pain, traveling can seem like a daunting task. For a person with these issues, taking to the roads or skies in a cramped seat for an extended period can cause a significant amount of pain.
The holiday season is for family, friends, and fun—it is not a time for back or neck pain. Leave pain at home for the holidays. It’s distracting, it’s annoying, it’s the guest nobody wants around.
Tips for Travel
No one should have to miss out on spending a wonderful holiday with family and friends because of pain. But, with long flights and even longer car rides, this can be difficult to achieve for someone with back or neck pain. This year, try these techniques and say goodbye to pain and hello to a wonderful holiday.
1.) Prepare with your health in mind
When trying to avoid pain while traveling, preparation is critical. If possible, try to book your flight at an odd time, or drive at night. This will help you avoid congested airports, packed planes, standing in long lines, and sitting in traffic jams. When packing, try to keep it light. The less weight you have to lug around, the better.
2.) Bring support
Seats in cars, planes, and trains, typically lack adequate support. This can easily lead to neck and back pain. Traveling with a lumbar support pillow or an inflatable neck pillow can help prevent and alleviate pain. Also, don’t forget to support your feet properly. Good travel shoes will support your feet which will support your back. They should also be easy to slip on and off, so you don’t strain your back taking them on and off going through security lines.
3.) Check your posture
While sitting for a prolonged period, be sure to check your posture. Bad posture will add more stress on your spine. Make sure you are sitting with your back aligned with your chair. Your headrest should be supporting the middle of your head, and your feet should be planted on the floor or footrest.
4.) Move and stretch
Your body is designed to move, which is great for dancing at holiday parties but, not great for riding in a car or airplane. Try to get up and stretch every 20-30 minutes or as much as possible. Even walking the length of an airplane to the bathroom can help a lot. You can also try booking an aisle seat or a seat next to an emergency exit. This will give you a little bit more room to stretch.
5.) Lift luggage carefully
Lift luggage slowly and try to move in stages. For example, lift heavy luggage on to the seat before lifting it into the overhead bin.
- Always bend at the knees.
- Use your knees to lift, not your back.
- Avoid twisting, pivot instead.
- Carry heavy items close to the body.
- Distribute weight evenly on both sides of the body.
Bonus tip: Visit your chiropractor first
Visiting a chiropractor before you travel can help treat the root of your neck and back problems instead of treating the symptoms. A chiropractor will be able to help you start off your journey in the best condition for a better traveling experience.
For those with neck and back pain, the joy is not always in the journey. Use these tips and ditch pain this holiday season.