How to avoid back pain on your next vacation

By Rebecca Burton • Published: August 29th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Whether you’re going on vacation, or traveling for business, there is always a risk of developing pesky back or leg pain during long hours sitting in a car or a plane. Staying seated for too long can cause pressure to build in the blood vessels in your lower legs, which can lead to soreness. The American Chiropractic Association has some tips for how to ensure pain-free travels.

When traveling by car, be sure to first adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as possible without being uncomfortable. While driving there are a series of muscle stretches you can do to keep the blood flowing. First, open your toes as wide as you can for 10 seconds. Then, take time to tighten your calf muscles, thigh muscles, and gluteal muscles in five-second increments.

Shoulder rolls, perhaps to your favorite song, are also a good exercise to keep your upper body from stiffening. Additionally, squeeze and loosen your hands around the steering wheel to circulate blood in your wrists and hands. Finally, use the rest areas. It’s always important to stop and walk around a bit.

For airplane travel, first determine the normal “S” curve of your spine when standing. To prevent back pain while sitting on the plane, use a pillow or rolled-up blankets to maintain that curve while in a seated position. Avoid carry-on luggage that is more than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. Lifting heavy luggage from the overhead bin can cause injury.

When stowing something under your seat, avoid forcing the object in an awkward motion with your feet. Lastly, be sure to vary your position from time to time to improve circulation.

Don’t let avoidable muscle pain ruin your much-needed vacation plans!