How to Travel with Pain

If you have low back, hip, shoulder, or neck pain, how can you travel without making your problem worse? Everyday I treat patients with this problem. The period before vacation can be a stressful time. Most people end up running around trying to get everything in order. You may need to make sure the pets are taken care of, all of the laundry needs to be washed, you need to get caught up at, and even get ahead of, work. This can lead to increased hours at a desk, more hours lifting loads of laundry, cleaning, driving around town running more errands. All of this leads to increased stress on your body which can lead to flairing up existing issues or creating new aches and pains. Either way, how do you travel when you are in pain?

Just the act of travelling can be traumatic on your body. If you have a neck, shoulder, hip, low back or knee issue, sitting in those cramped airplane seats for hours on end can easily make the problem worse. I am 5’8″ tall, and airplane seats are designed for people of my average height. But my muscles still get cramped and irritated from sitting in airplane seats. If you are driving, sitting for hours and hours hunched over a steering wheel can also flairup any of those areas. You have spent lots of time and money prepairing for a vacation, you don’t want to get there and be incapacitated due to a flairup of pain.

Not only sitting for long periods will irritate your body. carrying heavy luggage around an airport can be very tough on your body. Lifting a bag into the overhead compartment on the plane can be very tough for some. The bottom line is that if you take care of yourself, and manage your muscular and joint issues, you can arrive at your destination feeling good and you can keep yourself feeling good for your vacation.

The first step is to not be in one position for too long. Even though the airplane isles are tight and cramped, get up every half an hour to an hour. If you sit for longer, you will be much more stiff and sore when you finally do get up. Go to the bathroom, walk up and down the isle a few times. If you are driving, then stop at a rest stop every hour and go to the bathroom. Just get yourself out of that cramped position. You will be much looser and in less pain whenever you arrive at your destination.

Take stretches with you. I always travel with a yoga block and strap. That way, when I get to my hotel, I can stretch out some of the tightness that I have accumulated while travelling, thus making myself less likely to pull something while I am away on vacation. In a little while I will be posting on my website a few different levels of stretching routines. Take these with you and do them whenever you reach your destination. You will be lots looser and be able to enjoy your vacation without stiffness and pain.

You can also take some ibuprofen or some other type of anti-inflammatory prior to travel, as a preventative measure. It is not essential, but if you are in pain, then I would recommend it. It will prevent your pain from getting worse as you sit for long periods and stress your body running for a plane. I feel, as long as you take the anti-inflammatory with food, and don’t take them habitually, they are generally easy on your body.

If you can follow these simple directions, you can arrive at your destination without flairing up an old issue or making a current issue worse. And then you can enjoy your vacation that you spent so much time and money for. And that’s what it’s all about-don’t let your aches and pains limit your enjoyment.



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