This holiday season, nearly one in three Americans will hit the highways to spend time with their loved ones. Unfortunately, this also means more people will encounter pain during their travels. Lengthy car rides and extended flights may impact your ability to stay pain-free. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to stiff necks, aching backs, and other discomforts throughout your body.
Remaining pain-free this celebration-filled season can be tough. To help you out, we’ve listed the top three ways you can prevent pain and feel happy, healthy, and whole throughout your travels.
Tip #1: Maintain Circulation
We know you have a tight schedule to keep, but make sure you move your body. This simple tip will help improve circulation and eliminate stiffness. Not to mention, it’ll work to prevent your body from slouching and hunching over, which can aggravate old injuries.
How To Reduce Stiffness In the Body
Stiffness and immobility are your body’s natural responses to stress. Eliminate these effects with the following activities:
Take a Bath
The next time you have body aches, reduce the pain with a steaming hot bath. Adding baking soda or Epsom salt to warm water will relieve your muscles of pain almost instantly.
Before your holiday travels begin, stretch for a few minutes. Not sure where to start? Check out the recommended stretches below:
- Shoulder rolls
- Hip swings
- Hip rolls
- Trunk rotation
- Hamstring stretch
- Quadricep stretch
- Child’s pose
Walking for at least 10 minutes each day will eliminate stiffness in your muscles and joints. During your car or plane ride, when you’re not able to walk for an extended period of time, do a few pelvic thrusts. This movement will encourage motion throughout your lower extremities.
To perform pelvic thrusts, simply tuck your hips up, towards your chin then push down towards your feet. It may feel awkward at first, but it works wonders for hip mobility.
Tip #2: Avoid Overpacking
Pre-existing conditions like sciatica, muscle disorders, bulging disks, or arthritis can make traveling pain-free seemingly impossible. These long-term ailments you typically manage with physical therapy can be even more unpleasant if you overpack and incorrectly haul heavy luggage.
To be fair, overpacking is a common travel trait, especially during the holidays. But over packing and lifting bags improperly will increase the likelihood of suffering a neck or back strain.
Remaining pain-free while traveling is easier when you implement the following methods:
- Wear bulky items on the plane
- Limit yourself to 1 or 2 pairs of shoes
- Plan your outfits
- Pack travel-sized beauty products
- Make a checklist
Additional travel tips to keep in mind:
- Bend your knees when lifting
- Invest in a neck pillow
- Wear non-constricting clothes
- Avoid crossing your legs
- Don’t sit on bent legs
- Bring back support (lumbar roll or pillow)
Tip #3: Stay Hydrated
You’d be surprised to know how often back pain is caused by dehydration. Without proper cushion from water, the discs of your spine will dehydrate. This will likely lead to inflammation, extreme discomfort, and limited mobility. Keep your vertebrae hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Bring an empty aluminum water bottle when you travel and fill it up as soon as you can.
Traveling Pain-Free Is Easy
Holiday trips are full of fun, excitement, and wonderful celebrations. If you and your family are planning to travel this season, we recommend the preventative steps above to reduce pain and establish healthy habits. In addition to these tips, our staff provides effective and exceptional outpatient treatment solutions to reduce discomfort and improve strength, mobility, and flexibility.
Do You Struggle With Pain? OSR Can Help
Pain can be paralyzing. It can also impact the way you experience life’s enjoyable moments. If you have a nagging injury or flare-up during the holidays, contact the expert physical therapists at OSR when you get back home. We’ll evaluate your ailments and tailor a physical therapy plan to your specific needs.
Don’t let discomfort ruin your season of celebration. Request an appointment today.