Traveling can make even a seasoned adventurer feel anxious, which is something that I have seen in a number of my patients. These feelings of fear and anxiety are certainly not unwarranted, especially if your are planning to travel with children in tow.
Forced to for long periods in upright seats, whether in trains, planes or autos, a number of travelers winds up creating an L-shape in the lower spine, which can compress the vertebral discs and create agonizing pain in the lower back. But, there is one other body part that is extremely vulnerable during these trips and should be pampered as much much as possible - the neck.
The idea of travel being a real pain in the neck is actually far more than just a metaphor. The neck is the portion of the spine that is most commonly overlooked, especially when people are traveling. While many people have accepted neck discomfort as being normal, it is most definitely not.
If you don't address neck pain, you can wind up experiencing recurring headaches, shooting pain, tightness in your shoulders, disc pain and even arthritis. Chiropractic therapies, especially when received on a routine basis, will help to keep the neck in optimal condition.
Whiplash is not the sole threat that people face when traveling. A study on ergonomics from OSHA (Occupational Safety And Health Administration) determined that a common cause for disorders of the muscoskeletal system is simply maintaining an awkward position for any prolonged period.
How To Avoid Neck Pain During Travel
Following are a few things that you can do to pamper and protect your neck when taking a trip.
1. Pack your pillow. If you have sufficient room in your carry-on , make sure to bring a good travel pillow along. This will keep the neck in a neutral and safe position.
2. Try rolling up some clothes. If you don't have the option of traveling with a pillow or even a rolled up blanket, try folding up a jacket, shirt or even a pair of shorts to place at the nape of the neck. In order to give the neck optimal support, bunch these up until they are approximately the size of your fist.
3. Avoid drooping. Your neck is curved like the letter "C". Whenever this natural curve is altered, such as when reading or using a tablet or mobile phone that is sitting in your lap, you are opening the door to major neck pain.
There is a diagnosis known as "forward head carriage". This occurs when the ears travel beyond the shoulder. This can ultimately lead to degeneration of the discs.
4. Try not to aim fans directly on your neck. This cold air will cool neck muscles down and could lead to muscle pain and spasms in the future.
5. Rather than keeping your headrest at a height that isn't suited to your stature, keep it in an elevated position so that that the middle of the headrest touches the back of your head.
6. Get up and stretch when you arrive at your destination. Spinal fluids can travel back into the discs and cause these to become enlarged after just twenty minutes of the spine being idle. You can do a few gentle stretches to alleviate this problem. Arch backwards or do a few knew to chest stretches.
7. Show you neck some love. Although you can't see your spine, you are constantly reliant upon it. Keeping your spine in good condition through regular treatments can prevent future issues.
These tips can help you have an easy and pain-free travel experience.