The holidays are upon us…sweet treats, delicious eggnog, and time spent with family and friends. How could that be bad?! Well, if you have back pain then you know how difficult and painful it can sometimes be to travel to those friends and family members. Whether you are taking a plane, train, or automobile to get to your holiday destination, inevitably you will be sitting for a prolonged period of time.
Here are 4 simple things you can do to help make this year’s traveling more comfortable and keep you out of pain.
While “taking a load off” allows you to catch your breath during a busy time of the year, many seats are not designed to provide adequate low back support. If you anticipate sitting for an extended period of time, chose a form of lumbar support. I usually take a small towel instead of a pillow because I can fold it up or roll to the appropriate size based on how much support I need. Others may use a pillow, however, often times it is not the exact size to fit various seat sizes and orientations. Other simple lumbar support options include a small blanket or even a towel. If I forget my towel, I will often use the sleeve of my coat or a small sweater, which can also provide lumbar support.
When traveling, always use luggage with wheels. Not only does this take pressure off of your back, it is much easier to maneuver and does not put you at risk for straining your back. Carrying heavy duffel bags or luggage, and lifting, carrying, and twisting can put a lot of stress on your back and we do not want to go through the holiday with a flare-up of back pain.
As you board the plane and prepare to be seated for an extended period of time, consider taking a baby aspirin or using support stockings to promote blood flow. There is an incidence of deep venous thrombosis or DVTs that occur without having a lot of exercise. As you may know, in order for our blood to flow back to our heart, our leg muscles need to contract in order to help the blood flow back in our veins and get back to our heart. Often the blood flow slows down with prolonged sitting. Some simple things as taking an aspirin before the trip, using support stockings, and doing some simple ankle exercises and getting up and walking around can make a big difference in whether or not you get a blood clot.
Do not forget to wear your seatbelt. If you are unlucky enough to be in a car accident, or be in some turbulence when you are on a plane, having the seatbelt fastened can make a big difference from just being merely sore versus having a significant injury.
Cheers to a pain-free holiday season! Which holiday travel tips will you be using to decrease your risk of pain or health complications?