Most people love traveling during the summer months. Fun as it is to spend time with your loved ones in beautiful locations, back pain while traveling cuts into that enjoyment. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order to prevent back pain while traveling.
Here is what you need to know about common factors that can contribute to back pain while traveling and what can be done to prevent it. Let’s get into it!
Factors That Can Contribute To Back Pain While Traveling
This one’s a no-brainer, but still worth mentioning. If you’re injured or currently experiencing back pain, it’s only natural to expect to continue to suffer from this pain while cavorting around. It’s a good idea to talk to your chiropractor about things that you can do in order to alleviate your back pain while you’re traveling.
According to the CDC, approximately 42% of adult Americans have obesity. Not only can obesity increase your risk of health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, it also makes you more likely to suffer from back pain. This can be especially true while traveling, due to the discomfort of sitting in car or airplane seats that are too small and moving around when you are not used to it.
Obesity is a serious chronic disease both adults and children can suffer from. Obtaining help can improve your quality of life, such as by making it easier to travel with less likelihood of experiencing back pain.
Pillows And Mattresses
At home, you’re probably able to sleep on pillows and mattresses that you selected to suit your preferences. However, when you’re traveling, you don’t have this luxury. While some hotels may have pillows and mattresses that are the pinnacle of comfort, this isn’t always the case.
As such, you may end up sleeping on a mattress and with pillows that are either too soft or too firm to provide your body with proper support. If you’re staying in a hostel, motel, or someone else’s house, the mattress and pillows could also just be old and in need of replacement.
If your mattress and pillows aren’t supportive, you could end up suffering from back pain, due to how they’re not helping your body to keep your spine in neutral alignment while you sleep.
If you’re not an active person and now you’re trekking all over these new cities and countries, it might end up hurting your back. You may find back pain flaring up if you’re taking on a lot of hills, like in a mountain hike or going up streets in a city like San Francisco. If you’re toting around a backpack, this can also contribute to your back pain if you’re not wearing it properly.
Sitting Still For Too Long
Whether you’re on a road trip, taking a train, or jetting off somewhere, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time sitting down while traveling. This can lead to back pain, especially if you have a tendency to slouch. Try to get up and move every half an hour or so. If you’re driving, see if you can stop every hour or so in order to get up and move around.
These are just a few of the different things that can contribute to back pain while traveling.
What You Can Do To Prevent Back Pain While Traveling
Depending on whether you’re prone to back pain from simply sitting still for too long or another reason, you may need to adjust what you do in order to prevent back pain while traveling. For instance, if your back pain results from having an injury or obesity, that’s not as simple a fix as simply sitting in one spot for too long.
Some of the things you can do to prevent back pain while traveling are as follows.
#1. Move Around Often
If you’re driving, aim to stop every hour or so for a 15 minute long break to stretch and move around. Motion is lotion, as the saying goes. While moving around may seem counterintuitive if you’re stiff, simple exercises and stretches can prevent stiffness.
If you’re flying, keep an ear out for when they say that you’re free to move around the cabin. Sure, you can’t move around much in a plane, but getting up and being at to stretch your legs at least a little bit is better than sitting down the entire flight.
If you’re on a train, you can get up and walk around the cabin as needed.
#2. Manage Stress
Traveling can be stressful, especially when something unexpected happens, like the airline not putting your luggage on the plane with you. Stress can contribute to back pain while traveling due to how it makes your body tense up.
Managing stress is a lot easier said than done, we know. If you’re traveling with others, don’t hesitate to lean on them for support or ask for help. If you’re traveling alone, call or text one of your loved ones. You can practice mindfulness and techniques like deep breathing.
Planning ahead is one of the best ways you can manage stress. Always better safe than sorry, as the saying goes. For instance, if you’re flying and you’re checking luggage, make sure that one of your carry-ons has your essentials and at least one change of clothes. That way, if your luggage gets lost or left behind, you’re not in a worse situation.
#3. Be Careful To Avoid Habits That Contribute To Back Pain
You may not even realize that they’re doing this! It’s common to get back pain while traveling due to habits you adapt in an effort to be more comfortable, like slouching in a seat.
Some habits to avoid include:
- Not using neck support while sleeping in a car or plane
- Picking items up improperly
- Improper lifting techniques
- Not moving around enough (as is possible)
#4. Adjust Your Pillows And Mattress If Possible
If the mattress is super firm, you can try to use blankets or pillows to cushion it and make it softer. You can also put a pillow under your knees if you’re lying on your back or between your knees if you’re on your side in order to help keep your spine in neutral alignment while sleeping.
#5. Use Heat And Ice
This can alleviate existing back pain while traveling, such as if you already had it and traveling makes it worse. Heat reduces muscle and joint tension while ice helps to temporarily numb the area. Alternating as needed can provide you with relief.
#6. See It All – But Not All At Once
This is especially true if you have an injury or aren’t accustomed to a lot of physical activity. Planning ahead can help with this. While you want to see as much as possible, listen to your body and don’t try to plan on more than it can handle.
Adjust travel plans as needed – for instance, if some of your party want to go hiking but your back is killing you, you can stay back and relax, maybe even get a massage. If others choose to stay back too, you can have some nice bonding time by sitting outside or watching a movie or something.
#7. Talk To Your Doctor Or Chiropractor
They’ll be able to give you personalized advice on what to do about your back pain while traveling. If you have an injury, are obese or overweight, or you’re just prone to back pain while traveling and would really rather not deal with it, they’ll be able to help you.
Do You Need Help Preventing Back Pain While Traveling?
Ogden Chiropractic is here to help! We can give you exercises and stretches to do to lessen your likelihood of back pain while traveling. We can adjust your back so everything’s in alignment before you go, and realign you after you come back.
Contact us today to learn more about our chiropractic services and how we can help you avoid pain and deal with existing pain.