Tips for Pain-Free Travel

Traveling to get away from the Chicago cold weather? Whether you are flying, taking a long train ride, or going on a fun road trip the following tips can help keep your body free of aches and pains. 

Let’s discuss simple tips to limit the onset of joint stiffness, spinal discomfort, and muscular tightness.

Traveling by bus, car, or train? 

  • Use a Mckenzie lumbar roll to support the curvature of your low back. If you do not have access to a lumbar roll, simply roll up a small towel, sweater, or blanket to the small of your back. 
  • Take a break to stand up, stretch your legs, and move around every 1-2 hours. 
  • Extensions in a standing position or over a fulcrum is a great movement to try during a stop at the gas station during a road trip. 
  • Be sure your seat is at the right height to avoid strain on your neck and back
  • Maintain a relaxed and comfortable grip on your steering wheel to prevent tension in your shoulders. An easy mobility exercise of the neck can help relieve tension in the surrounding muscles. Simply move your head and neck through a full range of motion by going in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction, otherwise known as neck circles. 

Traveling by plane? 

  • If possible, book an aisle seat to make it easier to stand and stretch during a long flight.
  • Bring a travel pillow to support your neck and low back on the flight. This will help reduce stiffness and tension in the muscles when sitting for hours at a time. 
  • Use carry-on luggage with wheels to help reduce pressure on the spine and shoulders. You don’t want to be navigating through the airport terminal with a heavy piece of luggage on your shoulder. 
  • If there’s time, try to walk around the airport instead of sitting for extended periods of time at your gate (don’t worry the gate exists). 
  • If you are limited on time, try a simple couch stretch to get movement in your quadriceps and hip flexor muscles. ● Bring your phone, book, or magazine up to eye level to avoid strain on your neck during sitting. 
  • Stay well hydrated to help your heart pump blood more easily and allow oxygen to reach your muscles.

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Key things to take away from this post: 

  • Use a lumbar roll to support your spine during long hours of travel
  • Try to get up and move as much as possible every few hours 
  • Walk around the airport while waiting for your flight 
  • Standing back-bends help to relieve tension and static flexion 

Contact Lakeside if you or anyone you know is experiencing pain after travel, we are here to help!

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