Holiday season is officially here, and for many central Arkansans, that means lots of travel hours spent in the car and airport to see far away friends and family. Grueling holiday travel can be taxing on the healthiest people, but for those with chronic back pain, it can be almost unbearable. Below, we’ve outlined a few basic practices to help you have a happy, pain-free holiday.
Take travel breaks.
It’s easy to spend an entire four hour flight in your seat, or forgo rest stops on your road trip to get to your destination as soon as possible, but forcing yourself to remain in a seated position for hours can often irritate back issues and cause muscle spasms. Stretching your legs every hour or so may feel tedious, but it can prevent days of pain throughout your trip.
Stretching before, during and after your journey will help keep pain at bay by keeping your muscles loose and relaxed. Speak to your physician for stretches that will best suit your unique issues.
Avoid heavy luggage.
While you should always be careful when lifting a heavy object such as luggage, this is particularly important for those with back pain. Pack as light as possible to avoid the temptation of overexerting yourself. If you must pack a heavy bag, make sure you have a travel mate that can help transport your load.
By putting some extra thought into your journey, you can set yourself up for more back-friendly travel conditions. For example, by not flying at peak busy hours, you can increase your chances of having an empty seat next you and more room to stretch out. If you are traveling by car, you can shave minutes to hours off your trip by avoiding rush hour, which decreases the amount of time your back is subjected to a seated position.