As we settle in to the summer season and the temperatures start to rise, so does our excitement for that lovely foreign holiday we have planned. Taking flight to an exotic location can be a dreamy experience. But what if you live with chronic back pain?
Can you still enjoy your much deserved and anticipated break?
Our Fareham chiropractor says yes, you can. By following our back pain travel tips below you will be able to take your mind off your back pain and onto your beach plans…
1: Posture! Posture! Posture!
Sitting in one position for an extended period of time can exacerbate any back pain you currently have. But fear not, this can be greatly reduced by adopting a more back friendly seated position.
Try keeping your spine in alignment; back straight, head up, shoulders down and relaxed. NO SLOUCHING!
Your knees and hips should be at right angles and your feet flat on the ground.
This may feel strange for a while because your body is used to your usual position but perservering with this could benefit you on the beach.
2: Drink fluid to stay fluid!
Keeping hydrated is one of the most important things we need to do to stay healthy. And even more so when dealing with back pain. Our Fareham chiropractor recommends a frequent and adequate intake of fluid throughout any day (we should aim for at least eight glasses of water), but especially when travelling. The air in the cabin of the plane can dehydrate us, affecting the fluid levels in our spinal discs. This in turn can lead to increased pain.
Maintaining a consistent intake will aid the discs to be the fantastic cushions they are meant to be.
3: Support your spine and it will support you!
Talking about cushions: one of the easiest and most economical ways to help your spine during a flight is to place a lumbar support behind your back. Your lumbar spine is the lower part of your back and is probably the most common area from which to feel pain.
You can help to alleviate this pain by placing a cushion or towel roll between your lower back and your seat. About the thickness of your clenched fist should be ok. Together with the seating position mentioned above, this can help you relax, lose yourself in a novel or movie and enjoy your flight.
4: Moving is always a good thing!
When movement is reduced, pain can increase. Your body is not designed to be still for long. Indeed, your muscles are designed to be be used, no more so than around your spine. Neglecting this can lead to muscle shortening and increased resting tension, thereby creating more pain.
A top tip used by our Fareham chiropractor is to get up and move around. Simply walking to the toilet can be enough to ease that tension.
Combining this with some very easy to do stretches can make a huge difference in the quality of not only your flight but also your holiday.
5: Help yourself to a healthier spine!
Struggling to carry a heavy suitcase is one of the quickest ways to hurt your back.
You can avoid this by using one of the many trolleys available at the airport. This may sound obvious but the majority of travellers rely on the wheels attached to their suitcase. Take care if you choose to adopt this strategy as the suitcase is often unstable and may need a lot of effort to stay upright.
When lifting your cases it’s very important to remember to support your back. A very simple and effective way to achieve this is to pull your belly button in towards your spine. Increasing the tone of your abdominal muscles will also increase the support to your lower back. You will know you have nailed this when your waistband feels looser.
So, if the soreness in your spine was planning to hitch a ride on your holiday this year, why not leave it behind by following these simple and easy-to-implement tips.
It’s your well deserved break, don’t carry the extra baggage of back pain!