How To Avoid Back Pain During Holiday Travel

We all look forward to spending time with family over the holidays, but nothing’s worse than being sick or injured when traveling.  It’s vital to take care of your health heading into the trip and while away. Lower back pain is prevalent among our society. Eighty per cent of the population will experience a debilitating episode of back pain sometime in their life, with the most common cause being mechanical (joint or muscle related). Your body faces daily stresses and can accumulate to the point where you develop symptoms i.e. pain! Hence, it’s often the small things in life that trigger back pain.

Regular chiropractic care can help relieve daily stresses to the body and can serve as a preventative measure to back pain. It can help to take precautionary measures especially while traveling. Dragging around heavy luggage, slouching in airport chairs and sitting for long flights can turn a trip into serious back pain. The spine was designed to move, not sit still for hours in planes or cars.

To prevent back pain from spoiling your trip, follow these tips:

– Use your entire body to turn when lifting heavy luggage. Pivot with your foot, not your back, so that the whole body moves rather than twisting your spine.

– Avoid heavy carry-ons. Lifting excessive weight overhead is a common cause of back injuries.

– Use good posture. Airplane seats often force the lower back into an unnatural, stressful position. Support the curves in your lower back by placing a rolled-up airline pillow, towel or blanket between your back and the seat. Try sitting in a slightly reclined position, which can be less stressful on the spine. While seated, your knees should be bent at a right angle.

– Feel free to move around. Stretch and move around every 20 to 30 minutes or at least every hour or two. If you need to get up, walk to the back of the plane, do heel raises, side-bend stretching and marching in place to reduce stiff muscles and help curb inflammation. Try to book an aisle seat to make movement easier.

I’ve put my back out, what next?

Ice the injury as soon as possible. Apply 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. The reason that ice is better than heat is that it constricts the blood vessels and limits the amount of blood flowing into the site of the injury. This helps to reduce swelling and therefore pain at the site.  Ice also helps by numbing the area and thereby reducing pain.  If pain persists, always seek help from your Chiropractor.  The next time you are about to travel keep the above points in mind, it might save your holiday.

references; Dr. Sean Tan DC

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