Posted by: admin in Articles on February 1st, 2013

Each year Americans spend millions of dollars on travel, for business and pleasure.  All too often we are so tired from the traveling that it may be hours or days until we’re back on our feet .  No matter how you travel, you can arrive at your destination refreshed, relaxed and ready to go.

Don’t spend all your time sitting and looking out the window.  Get up and stretch as often as you can.  This will loosen muscles and prevent strain.  If you go by car or bus, take advantage of the rest stops.  Go outside, take a breath of fresh air, walk around.

If you’re planning a trip, a doctor of chiropractic can give you sound advice on staying comfortable.  If you’re back from a trip and feeling stiff, a chiropractic examination should be done to determine where your problems may be and how they can be corrected.

The Strain of Sitting

Whether travelling alone on business or on the way to a sunny resort with the family, long hours in a car or on an airplane can leave anyone stressed, tired, stiff and sore.  Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body.  Even if you travel in a comfortable car or fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can restrict the blood flow, building up pressure in the blood vessels, especially in your lower legs.

Treat travel as an athletic event.  Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination.  Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.

In an Airplane

  • Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine.  Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit.  Tuck a pillow behind your back just above the beltline and put another pillow across the gap between our neck and the headrest.  If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks.
  • Check all bags heavier than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.  While lifting your bags, stand in front of the overhead compartment.  Do not lift your bags over your head,  rotate your spine or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.
  • When pushing your belongings under the seat, do not force the object with an awkward motion using your legs, feet or arms.  This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles.  Instead, sit in your seat, and gently guide your bags under the seat directly in front of you with your hands and feet.
  • While seated, change your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps.  Bring your legs in and move your knees up and down.  Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under your seat.

Travel by Car

  • Sit as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible, with knees slightly higher than your hips.
  • Using a back support may reduce the incidence of low-back strain and pain.  The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
  • Take rest breaks to avoid fatigue.  Exercise your legs to reduce the risk of swelling, fatigue, or discomfort.  Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10.  Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles.  Roll your shoulders forward and back.
  • Loosen and tighten your grip on the steering wheel to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms and hands.
  • While always being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focal point while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tension headaches.

 The Bottom Line

If you follow these simple steps, you can enjoy pain free, safe travel.  If you do experience pain and stress from travel, doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to diagnose and treat problems of the spine and nervous system.*

*(Reprinted with permission of The American Chiropractic Association)

No individuals, including those under our active care, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related condition. Diagnosis and treatment of all health conditions should only be performed by the doctor or other licensed health care professional.
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One Response to “Painless Travel”

  1. Thank you so much…

    Really insightful post. Thanks a ton for sharing….

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