Best Tips to beat TRAVEL Pain
How to prevent and relieve the pain of travelling
When you suffer from back or neck pain the thought of a long trip by car or plane can be frightening. The seats can become very uncomfortable and having to sit still for long periods of time can be a very painful experience.
The following tips will help support your spine and help prevent your holidays being overshadowed by back or neck pain.
Travelling by Car:
1. Stop regularly for stretch breaks. Get out of the car every 2 hours to walk around and stretch for 5 minutes.
2. Be aware of your posture. Don’t slouch, sit upright with your head back and adjust your mirrors to this posture as a reminder to sit back.
3. Make sure your back pockets are empty. Wallets or phones in a back pocket can tilt your pelvis and irritate your lower back.
4. Don’t sit too far away from the steering wheel. Having to stretch forward to hold the steering wheel will increase upper back and neck pain over your journey.
5. Exercise while driving. Regularly roll your shoulders back and gently move your neck in all directions, especially when driving.
6. If you suffer low back pain while travelling use a lumbar support. Use a commercial support or a small rolled up towel and place it in the small of your back to support your low back.
7. Stay hydrated. Sip water regularly throughout your journey.
Travelling by Plane:
1. Try to get an aisle seat. An aisle seat makes it easier move around during the flight.
2. Support your spine. Use a commercial support or a small rolled up towel to support your low back and a good supportive neck pillow will help save you neck pain if you sleep.
3. Maintain your circulation. Move around regularly, move your feet, roll your ankles in circles, point your toes and flex your feet.
4. Stretch. Always stretch after sleeping and then again every 1 – 2 hours.
5. Keep well hydrated. Sip water regularly throughout the flight.
6. Move around. On longer flights make sure you get up to move and stretch regularly by walking up and down the aisle.
7. Be careful lifting your suitcases. Remember to bend with your knees, not your back.
Tips and exercises to keep you pain free while on holidays:
Some easy things to try if pain starts to interrupt your holiday
Trapezius Muscel Stretch
- Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor, back straight and shoulders
- To stabilise your stretch use one hand to either hold onto the side of the chair or place it under your buttock
- Tilt your head away from the stabilising arm
- Bring your ear towards your shoulder until you feel a stretch
- To intensify the stretch place your other hand on your head and gently use it to increase the stretch
- Hold for 30 seconds
- Repeat each side twice
See this stretch demonstrated in our Neck Flexibility Video.
Mid Back Extention
- Lie on the floor
- Roll up a towel* and place it along your spine to the base of your neck let your arms rest out to each side and head rest back.
- Hold for the time recommended by your chiropractor
- Rest your arms out to the side
- Stretch for 10 minutes or as long as comfortable
*generally rolling a towel at the short edge is best but if it is uncomfortable try it with a few different thicknesses until you find one that is comfortable and provides a stretch through your chest
See this stretch demonstrated in our Mid Back Flexibility Video.
Knee to Chest
- Lie on the floor
- Knees bent, feet on the floor and low back relaxed
- Tighten your abdominal muscles
- Bring both knees toward your chest holding on behind or on top of your knees
- Keep your back against the floor
- You may feel a stretch through your low back or buttock
- Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times
- If this feels comfortable you can add rotation by dropping your knees side to side
See this stretch demonstrated in our Low Back Flexibility Exercises video.
Go for a Gentle Walk Outside
Fresh air and gentle exercise can do wonders for a mild headache especially if it’s caused or aggravated by spending too much time working or on a computer. Exercise is also great for stress which is one of the main causes of tension headaches.
Get outside and go for a half hour walk, take deep breaths all the way into your stomach. Allow your shoulders a neck to relax while you’re walking, even try stopping to do some gentle stretches during your walk.
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