Travelling can put loads on our body that we may not be used to – from carrying heavy luggage, squeezing into a small seat for long periods, to using a different pillow and mattress. It is no wonder the thought of travelling can be a daunting! And even more so if you’re susceptible to neck or back pain.
Below are some easy tips on how to avoid neck or back pain when travelling.
1. Check in with your posture when sitting
Supporting your spine starts with your feet. Your feet need to be placed on a firm surface and at the right height to avoid transferring stress to your lower back. It is ideal to have your knees at a right angle. This means, if your seat is too high it is best to put your feet on a footrest.
Our backs have a natural inward curve that many seats do not support. Make sure your hips are positioned all the way back on your seat. Lumbar supports are a great option for correcting sitting posture and reducing lower back pain. For a cheaper solution, you can roll up a towel or a t-shirt and place it between your inward lumbar curve and the seat.
Support your head. Adjust your headrest so that it touches the middle part of the back of your head.
2. Lift heavy luggage in stages
Lifting heavy objects in stages can prevent excessive strain on your lower back and reduce the risk of injury.
Bend at the knees and use leg muscles rather than back muscles to lift
Avoid twisting the low back while lifting; instead, pivot with the feet
Carry heavy items as close to the body as possible
Distribute weight evenly on each side of the body
If carrying one shoulder bag, switch sides often to avoid stressing one side of the back
3. Move as much as possible
Your spine is designed to move. Sitting in one position can stiffen your neck and back. If possible, stand up and move around the plane every 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you are travelling in a car or bus, use scheduled stops to get out of the car and move around and stretch. A simple walk up and down the aisle or a few laps around the car is often enough.
4. Take supportive shoes
Choosing the right footwear is an essential part of planning a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. Whether you’re planning on hiking, nightclubbing, or spending most of your time at the beach, you’ll always pack at least two pairs of shoes. Make sure your shoes are well cushioned. This will reduce the load your body absorbs with each step. It is also important to choose shoes that have an arch support. This will prevent your ankles and knees from getting sore after your walking tour around the cobble-stoned streets of Rome.
5. Take your own pillow
Using different pillows in hotels and so on can affect your neck and back. If you are prone to neck issues, it is best to bring your own pillow that provides the proper support for your needs. Travel pillows are also a great option if you are sitting for long periods.
Jordan Tumes – Physiotherapist
Contact The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233 or click below to book online.
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