Spine Health when Traveling

Enjoy your traveling by limiting back and neck pain. Plan ahead to stay as pain-free as possible when traveling. Often times the origin of travel-related pain is long hours in static positions, inadequate spine support, carrying heavy luggage, performing activities you are not used to performing and using different pillows and mattresses.

Prolonged Static Positions: Staying in one position for a prolonged time reduces blood flow to the muscles, resulting in tightness and symptoms. Get up and move around for a few minutes once an hour.

Motion keeps the muscles and joints loose and decreases the risk of injury. When seated, take micro-breaks every 20 minutes by shifting your position and correcting your posture.

Supports: Insufficient lumbar and cervical support places greater demand on the spine. Use a lumbar support pillow to lessen pressure on the lower spine.

When the low back is supported in good posture the midback and neck are more likely to be in good posture. Cervical pillows designed for travel help maintain proper neck positioning by preventing the neck from being bent too far in one direction.

Pillows and Mattress: Our bodies become adapted to our beds and pillows at home. Even a small change in pillow height or mattress firmness may elicit symptoms or pain. If possible, bring your pillow from home or a travel pillow for best results.

Luggage: Heavy suitcases are difficult to lift and carry. Bring two lighter, evenly weighted suitcases instead of one heavy bag. Lifting a symmetrical load is easier on the spine.

Use proper lifting technique by keeping the weight close to you, bending at the knees and using the strong leg muscles. When carrying luggage stand up straight, pull your shoulder blades back and keep your head in line with your spine.

Unfamiliar Activities: Vacations are meant to be fun, adventurous and relaxing. Don’t overstress your body by doing too much. Take it easy and enjoy your time away.

Shoes: Support your feet while traveling. Your feet are the foundation of your standing and walking posture. Wear comfortable, well-supported, broken-in shoes to lower the risk of back pain.

Stretching: The powerful hip and leg muscles will tighten and become sore with increased activity. Keep your muscles loose by performing dynamic range of motion exercises and slow static stretches.

Spine health is vital in all walks of life. Remain symptom-free and enjoy your travels. Follow these simple suggestions to limit the possibility of travel-related spine pain and symptoms.

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