With holidays being right around the corner many of us spend a lot of time traveling to be with our loved ones. For those who suffer with chronic back pain traveling can really put a damper on the holidays. Airplanes can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore! There are preventative methods you can take so you will be able to travel and spend your holidays with the ones you love.
Here are some effective tips to avoid back pain while flying:
- Pack as lightly as possible!!! Only pack what is necessary. If possible use a suitcase with wheels to avoiding lifting and carrying heavy bags.
- If you don’t have a suitcase with wheels use two lighter, evenly weighted suitcases instead of one heavy bag. Carrying one heavy bag forces the muscles in your spine to work unevenly. Lifting a symmetrical weight is much easier on your back.
- Check all bags that are heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight.
- Overhead lifting can cause a large amount of stress on your back and neck. While lifting your bag into the overhead stand right in front of the overhead so the spine does not twist. Do NOT lift your bags over your head or twist your head and neck while lifting.
- Do NOT be afraid to ask for assistance!
- Try to book an aisle seat ahead of time! This makes it so much easier for when you need to get in and out, gives you slightly more room if you need to stretch out a bit and means you won’t have to bother other people so much.
- Avoid stressing! Stress can cause pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Plan your trip ahead of time and be prepared to reduce your stress and anxiety of rushing around and waiting in lines.
- Drink lots of water! Lack of water contributes to chronic muscle spasms & increased blood viscosity. Both contribute to poor healing and inflammation. Avoid tea, coffee, soda and alcohol!
- Get up and move around as much as possible! Simply standing up for a few minutes and doing some light stretching, twisting or bending will help keep you relaxed and get the blood moving in and out of the muscles.
- While seated change up your position. This will improve your circulation and help to avoid leg cramps. Try to bring your legs in and move your knees up and down. You can also prop your legs up on a bag under your seat.
- Bring a pillow! Use the pillow to support your lower back and neck. If you don’t have a pillow request one, use a blanket or even your jacket.
- It might help to put your feet on a raised area to align your knees and hips.
- Posture is very important for preventing strain to the spine, neck, shoulders, and lower back. Keep the “S” curve of your spine. Do NOT slouch!
- Wear clothing that allows you to move freely. Stay away from heavy and constrictive clothing. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as well.
- When you are picking up a bag up get close and bend with your knees. Avoid reaching and quickly lifting that will put strain on your lower back.
Make sure to follow the previous tips when you travel this holiday season. It can make a huge difference in the amount of pain you suffer from.