Packing and holiday delays can make travel stressful, but traveling with back pain can be especially taxing. Long periods of sitting and heavy luggage are just some of the obstacles facing travelers with back pain. Here are 5 tips to make your trip more comfortable and less painful.
- Move as much as you can. It sounds counterintuitive, but you need to move every 20 to 30 minutes. On bus rides, the driver won’t pull over for you to stretch, but on longer flights, walk around the cabin if the fasten seatbelt sign is off. Pull over for a quick stretch if you’re driving your own car. You don’t have to move a lot—even 10 seconds of movement will make things better.
- In addition to moving around, you should stretch as well. Hip flexors and hamstrings get especially tight during long periods of sitting. Here are two great examples to follow:
To relieve stiffness in the neck, bring the ear to the shoulder or simply move your head side to side.
- Watch your posture. The right posture can go a long way towards easing back pain. Make sure you’re sitting properly, so your spine is straight and your back is resting comfortably against the chair. Knees should be at a right angle, so make use of a footrest if you have access to it.
- Support your back and neck. You may have spent a small fortune on your plane ticket, but that’s no guarantee of comfort. Roll up a pillow behind your neck so that the head rest of your seat doesn’t push your head forward. Try also supporting your lumbar spine with a rolled towel or second pillow.
- Lift carefully. When you’re loading or unloading pay attention to how you lift your luggage. Bend your hips as you lift and face the bag squarely. Also, consider asking for help or lightening your load to protect your back.
With these tips, you’ll have a smoother, more comfortable trip. If you have additional questions about traveling safely, ask us on our Facebook page.