Summer vacations are in full swing. Whether you are traveling with kids, your partner, friends, or alone, pain and flare-ups can inconvenience your plans. Long car rides, bumpy flights, and unforgiving seats cause back and leg muscles to stiffen, in addition to putting unnecessary stress on the spine.
Pain shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying some much needed time off. Wherever it is you are going, follow these simple steps to reduce aches and stress so you can enjoy your travels.
- Keep moving: Maintaining your workout routine, even a modified version, as well as stretching often, will help keep your muscles loose and circulation flowing. Pack a handheld massager or foam roller to work out knots and tense muscles caused by prolonged sitting. Our Theracane is also a great portable tool.
- Pack lightly: Instead of packing one heavy, large suitcase, pack two smaller bags. This will make lifting bags overhead into airplane bins, and in and out of the car, much easier.
- Lift properly: Lift luggage slowly and in stages. Avoid twisting by pivoting your feet so your entire body moves in the same direction. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries.
- Bring support: Airline seats and even some car seats do not offer adequate lumbar support. Pack an inflatable back cushion, such as our Self-Inflating Back Rest, to easily and quickly add support. Bring a U-Shaped Travel Pillow whenever you’re traveling to help you rest comfortably.
- Grab your pillow: When traveling, we often sleep on pillows that are not our own. They may not have the support you need for your body type, which leads to pain. Bring a pillow that is fit to your body type. The ContourSide Pillow comes in two travel sizes for a better fit.
Long flights or car rides can be daunting for those who experience back or neck pain. Standing, sitting, or lying in awkward positions for long periods of time is hard on your muscles, joints, and spine. Seats in airplanes, trains, buses, and cars can aggravate back and neck pain as they are not the most comfortable or ergonomically correct.
Here are a few steps that you can take to help reduce pain while traveling:
- Drink water: Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your trip. Water helps to lubricate and cushion muscles and joints. Staying hydrated will also help keep headaches away.
- Sit with support: As we mentioned, seats in planes and cars are often uncomfortable and worn out with poor lumbar support. Bringing a lumbar cushion such as our Self Inflating Back Rest will provide support during long car rides and flights. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will give your neck the proper support it needs while also providing comfort. If you’re planning a long road trip and your car has bucket seats, the TravelLite Wedge Seat Cushion will allow for proper spinal alignment. This seat cushion allows you to sit in the ergonomically correct “S” curve position, with added support under your hips.
- Pack light: Heavy luggage can cause unnecessary strain on your neck and back muscles. Instead of packing one large suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. Lifting bags into and out of your trunk or overhead bins, and off of the baggage carousel will be much easier. Also, when lifting your bags be sure to lift in stages and never twist your back. Instead, pivot your feet so that your entire body moves. If possible, avoid lifting by asking for help from a flight attendant or a passenger nearby.
- Get up and move: Occasionally changing positions can help prevent leg cramps, blood clots, and stiff muscles. Try this every 20-30 minutes, if possible. Movement helps stimulate circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients into the muscles. This helps to prevent aches from sitting for long periods of time. When available, book an aisle seat to make getting up and out of your seat easy and accessible. If you’re driving, make pit stops to get out of the car and move around.
- Stretch: Speak with your doctor prior to your trip for safe and easy hamstring and hip stretches that you can do while traveling. Stretching will loosen muscles and provide relief during long periods of sitting.