With the dawn of Thanksgiving and the Holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s time to prepare for your travel arrangements. Sure, the stress of trying to coordinate plans, hanging out with your family for extended periods of time, and the expectations surrounding this time of year can be a hassle, but the biggest pain of the holiday season has nothing to do with your family or the occasion. That’s right we’re talking about the pain in your back, neck, shoulders, knees, and hips caused by travel injuries.
Whether you’re hopping into a car and road tripping to your grandparents’ for the holidays, squeezing yourself into a seat for an overnight flight, or dreading your yearly stay on your great aunt’s old, lumpy coach, we can offer traveling tips that will help you prevent injury during your holiday travel.
You may not be in control of the comfort level of those airplane seats or the uncomfortable beds you will have to endure during your stay, but you can control how much and how heavy your bags are. An overly packed bag is not just an inconvenience, but is an initial source of pain for the remainder of your trip. If you lift your bag and doubt you could walk a mile with it, it’s probably too heavy. You never know what hiccups will occur in your travel plans, so be prepared for any circumstance where you may be on foot with your luggage for an extended period of time. When possible, use a suitcase with wheels, but be wary of over packing those too because you will most likely be lifting your suitcase down stairs and into cars. In the end, the last thing you want is to pull a muscle because you couldn’t bare to leave out the five “just-in-case” outfits that you had to bring. Be diligent, pack lightly, and be nice to your body.
Lift Luggage Properly
Again, you will most likely have to lift your luggage at some point, wheels or not. Breathe, take your time no matter how stressed you’re feeling, and remember to follow these basic steps when heaving heavy loads of luggage:
- Bend at the knees
- Stay in a 90 degree angle when bending and avoid twisting your spine
- Hold heavy luggage against your body to help support the weight
- Distribute your weight evenly and remember to alternate shoulders when using one-shoulder bags to avoid overuse and strain on one side of your body
Bring Your Own Pillow
Whether you’re traveling by plane, car, bus, or boat, remember to bring your own pillow support. While some flights will provide simple accommodations for overnight stays and your hotels will surely have bedding for you, not all pillows are created equal. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, bringing a lumbar support pillow will be the best thing you can do to make your trip bearable. However, if you do forget to pack your lumbar support pillow, use a rolled up sweater or blanket and place it under the small of your back instead. Trust us, no trip is worth settling for convenience when your spinal health is at risk.
We know that the holidays are busy and often full or stress, but we want to help ease any discomfort and pain caused by travel. Even the smallest measures can help you prevent injury and promote overall spinal wellness. Do yourself a favor and follow these simple precautions and schedule a checkup for when you return to address any pain you may return home with. Our chiropractic professionals are ready to help you prevent injury this holiday season.