How to Prevent Back Pain While Traveling
Traveling often involves extended periods of sitting, which can take a toll on your spine, even if you don't currently experience chronic back pain. But whether you're managing existing back issues or simply interested in preventative measures, there are ways to mitigate discomfort and protect your spine on long journeys. This blog explores 5 key tips to keep your spine healthy and prevent back pain from flaring up during travel.
1. Lift Your Luggage Safely
The physical tolls of lugging heavy baggage often leads to injury. In 2017 alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 85,000 emergency room visits, doctor appointments, and clinic trips due to luggage-related mishaps. Before lifting any luggage, take a second to check your posture. Keep your back straight, bend at the knees, and lift with your legs, not your back. Every time you need to lift heavy luggage, make sure you carry it as close to your body as possible, distribute the weight evenly, and avoid twisting the lower back while carrying heavy bags.
2. Check Your Posture
Ideally, you should sit up straight with your head back, both feet flat on the ground, and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. This alignment eases strain on back muscles and your spine. Adapting awkward positions can lead to muscle tension and spinal imbalances, so prioritize comfort and proper support throughout your journey.
3. Use Props to Support Your Spine
During travel, the seats generally do not provide the best support for your lower back or neck muscles. Consider using props for added support where needed. Neck pillows, foot rests, and lumbar support pillows are all excellent options to give your spine additional support and make you more comfortable during the long journey. If you do not have a lower lumbar support pillow, roll up a jacket/sweater and put it behind your lower back for improvised, extra support.
4. Get Up and Move As Often As Possible
Staying sedentary in an uncomfortable seat for too long isn’t good for the vertebrae. If it’s not too disruptive to your aisle-mate, during long flights/train/bus rides take the opportunity every 30–45 minutes to get up and walk around and stretch a bit. If you are driving, be sure to stop at rest areas and take a short walk as often as you can. The more you can keep your spine mobile, the better you will feel.
5. Stretch Regularly
Sitting on long journeys tightens muscles and stresses your spine. Regular stretches combat this by boosting flexibility, reducing stiffness, and strengthening supporting muscles, keeping your back and spine healthy and ready for any travel adventure. Focus on hamstrings, neck, and core stretches to help release muscle tension and improve blood flow to the spine. For more information on this topic, check out our blog, ‘Daily Stretches to Improve Your Health.’
Visit Petrak Family Chiropractic Center for Chronic Back Pain
Traveling for long distances normally means being sedentary in confined spaces for long periods of time. Be sure to take the proper precautions in order to prevent injuries to the spine. At Petrak Family Chiropractic Center, we will curate a personalized plan to help prevent and treat chronic back pain.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.