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Tips to Reduce Pain During Holiday Travel

Tips to Reduce Pain During Holiday Travel

As Thanksgiving is upon us and many people will be traveling to see family and friends again, if you're dealing with chronic pain you may be concerned about how long hours in a car or on a plane will affect you. And, let’s be honest, even those of us who do not suffer from chronic pain are often stiff and sore and have back pain after a long car or plane ride. While we may not be able to eliminate all of our travel discomfort, there are some things we can do proactively to minimize it.

Below are some tips to reduce your travel pain and enjoy your holiday:

  • Take a brisk walk and stretch your legs before getting in the car or on the plane if possible. Pay special attention to your hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and hip flexors. Try a standing hamstring and calf stretch, a standing figure four stretch and lunges. 
  • Bring a lumbar support cushion or roll up a small scarf to use as a lower back contour support. Place in between the curve of your low back and the seat.  
  • Keep your back pockets empty – don’t sit on your wallet or cell phone or anything that could cause a skeletal imbalance.
  • Sit up straight, with your knees just slightly higher than hip level, and with your head and back aligned against the seat.
  • Move! Even little movements will help keep your blood flowing. Stretch your fingers and toes, shrug your shoulders up and down, stretch your neck from side to side, tighten and release your leg muscles.
  • Make time for pit stops where you can get out and walk and stretch; if on a plane – stand up and stretch or walk to the restroom.
  • Heat or cold therapy – if you are able to, pack a small cooler with ice packs. If you prefer heat, many car seats are now heated and will provide consistent low level heat, or you can try a battery operated heating pad. 
  • Apply a pain relief product like Biofreeze Gel or Biofreeze Pain Relief Patches. 
  • Pack lightly. Whether you’re dragging luggage through an airport or lifting heavy bags in and out of your vehicle, it’s a good idea to play it safe and not add the extra stress on your body of bags that are too heavy and awkward to lift.
  • And of course, if you have severe back pain or other unresolved pain after travel or any time, contact cindy@bodyfitphysicaltherapy.com.

Wishing you a very happy, pain-free Thanksgiving from BodyFit Physical Therapy!