Sometimes long trips are unavoidable, especially if you love travelling to long haul tropical destinations. Whether you’re a long term backpacker or have a long road trip coming up for work, you should take time to consider your spine health. Sitting in a car or on a plane for a long period of time can be uncomfortable and lead to ongoing back pain for the duration of your trip.
If you already suffer from back pain, then you will dread long car journeys or flying because you know that sitting for long periods of time can make it worse. Being in one position can stiffen the muscles in your back and cause aches and pains. However, there are some things you can do to alleviate the discomfort and avoid an episode of chronic back pain. Here are some top tips from the Canary Wharf chiropractors.
Use supportive cushions
Sitting correctly is really important for keeping your spine happy, yet many car seats and airplane seats aren’t designed well to correctly align the body. You want to sit up straight in the seat, with both feet firmly on the floor and the knees on level with or slightly higher than the hips. With limited leg room on planes we know this is difficult. Bring a cushion or roll up a scarf to place between your lower back and the back rest, which adds extra support to your spine. If travelling in a car or coach, always make sure you feel comfortable and the seat is adjusted for you before setting off.
Move as much as you can
The main culprit that causes back pain is sitting still for too long. If you can’t stand up and walk around during your journey, at least try and change your position every 20 minutes or so. There are also stretches and small movements you can do while in your seat – clench your buttock muscles, roll your ankles and stretch up with your arms to keep the muscles awake. It’s easy for your back to stiffen up on a long flight or car journey. If you are driving, be sure to stop every couple of hours for a walk around and a stretch.
The last thing you need after a long journey which has aggravated your back is heavy luggage. Try to lift your luggage as little as possible, and when you do always bend your knees and use your legs to lift rather than your back. Pack light – how many books are you really going to get through in a week? Can you pick some up at the hotel instead? Just because the airline offers 30kg of luggage allowance doesn’t mean you should pack enough for six weeks. If you’re unloading luggage out of the boot of a vehicle be extra careful and ask for help to share the load on your back.
Planning a long haul journey? Follow these tips to keep your back safe during the trip, and beforehand you may want to consider preventative chiropractic treatment.