How Can I Make Travel More Comfortable?

Driving Posture


Traveling during the holidays can, without a doubt, be dreadful. Some people even miss out on seeing their families over the holidays because they just can’t stomach the thought of sitting down for the entire flight or car ride. Here at PPT, we’ve met many people who have traveled to another state, either by car or by plane, only to return home with major back issues. Patients often come to us and ask, “I want to visit my family. What can I do to make traveling less painful for me, so that I can go see them?”.

The answer is simple. Poor posture and little to no movement prove as the two main causes of back pain following a trip. Because of this, we’ve put together some tips and tricks in order to make traveling during the holiday season a little less painful.

Driving Tips When Traveling

If you’ve ever been stuck in a car for an extended amount of time, you know it can be brutal- especially for the driver. Neglecting your posture while seated for hours at a time can lead to severe back pain. Surprised? Poor posture, little to no movement and the wrong clothes are all key factors in the aches that we often experience when we take a road trip. Here are some tips to avoid common mistakes while taking a road trip this holiday:

Adjust Your Seat

To stop the pain before it starts, adjust your car seat! Adjusting your seat to a position that is tilted slightly backward will allow your elbows to relax and your body to sit naturally. This, in turn, will reduce the stress that is placed on the spine due to the seat carrying some of your weight.

Avoid Tight Clothes When Traveling

Wearing loose and comfortable clothes will allow more movement within the tiny space you might find yourself. Tight clothing or belts can restrict your movement and cause the body to gradually stiffen over the duration of the trip.

Stop and Stretch

When sitting uncomfortably in the car, it can be tempting to continue driving in order to get to your destination as quickly as possible. But many times people forget that giving the body a break is essential. Pulling over to a rest stop or gas station after a certain duration of time allows you to get out, walk around and give your legs a much-needed stretch. A tip to help encourage these breaks…. Drink lots of water!

Watch this video for some exercises

Flying Tips

Flying over driving does have its perks. One of them is that you can sit back and relax, rather than having to keep an eye on the road (and other drivers).

Drink Water

When choosing to fly, you’re given the option to consume alcohol while you are on the way to your destination. It’s important to stick to water while you’re up in the air. Why? Drinking alcohol can cause the body to rapidly dehydrate. Dehydration can exaggerate muscle stiffness and cramps, ultimately doing more harm than good.

In-Flight Exercises

While flying on a plane, it can be difficult to get up and move around. Unless you’re walking to the back to use the restroom, you probably aren’t getting much movement. The solution? You can do tiny in-flight exercises, such as shoulder shrugs and foot circles (think writing the ABCs, but with your feet!). This will assist with blood circulation throughout the body, and help you to avoid the formation of a blood clot in your legs, having a huge impact on the way you feel after landing.

Read this article to learn more about flying with back pain.

Avoid Moving Walkways

Once you’ve hit the tarmac, walk, don’t slide, to the baggage claim. Instead of taking the moving walkway, get your legs moving!

Push, Don’t Pull

The final piece of advice is to push your suitcase, rather than to pull it. Pulling the suitcase from behind you as you trek across the airport can cause the body to twist in a motion that can be damaging to the back. Pushing the suitcase in a forward direction alleviates any strain on the back and upper body.

We hope these travel tips allow you to travel and visit your loved ones with ease this holiday season. Questions, comments, or concerns? Let us know! Text one of our therapists at 623.244.9655.

Click Here To Arrange A FREE Telephone Consultation
Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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