Best Travel Tips to Prevent Back Pain
Find out how to prevent and relieve the pain of travelling
When you suffer from back pain or neck pain the thought of a long trip by car or plane can be frightening. These 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 ruined by back and neck pain.
Travelling by car:
- Every 1 – 2 hours make sure you take regular stretch breaks, get out of the car walk around and stretch.
- While you are travelling regularly roll your shoulders back every hour to loosen tight muscles and stretch your neck gently around in all directions.
- Back supports are useful with long travel. A small rolled up towel can be used as a lumbar support. Place in the small of your back to help support the lower back.
- Do not slouch, sit upright with your head back. Adjusting the position of your mirrors before your journey will be a reminder for you not to slouch.
- Sip water often and stay well hydrated.
- Place your seat in the upright position & ensure your tailbone is as far back in the seat as it can be. Keep your shoulders and head as supported as possible by the seat.
Travelling by Plane:
- Try to get an aisle seat to make it easier to regularly stretch and walk during the flight.
- Support your spine with a rolled up garment or small cushion to maintain the natural shape of the spine.
- Be careful lifting your suitcases and remember to bend with your knees not with your back.
- Your ankles need to be regularly rolled in circles, point your toes and flex your feet.
- Always stretch after sleeping then again every 1 – 2 hours.
- Keep well hydrated by sipping water regularly.
- Place a supportive pillow inside your luggage or take an inflatable travel pillow.
- Set your watch to the time zone of your destination before take-off then eat, drink & sleep in alignment with this time during the flight to adjust to it.
Tips and exercises to keep you pain free while on holidays:
Some easy things to try if pain starts to interrupt your holiday
Trapezius Muscle 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 extension
- 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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