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Don’t Let a Dream Vacation be a Pain in the Back

By Sara Butler

Family Vacation

I don’t write these poignant yet remarkably entertaining posts for The Joint Chiropractic just for grins – I’m also a patient. Yes, I have back problems. I had back surgery earlier this year for a herniated disc, and though it’s healing, it’s also something I must deal with for the rest of my life. This probably sounds familiar to many of you because it seems like once you develop a serious problem with your back, you can help minimize the symptoms but it’s never going to be like it was. Boo-hoo.

My family and I are embarking on a trip to Walt Disney World this week. Needless to say, I’ve been concerned with how all that walking and riding the attractions is going to go down with me and Harriet, my herniated disc. Yes, I named my disc. Respect me because I was brave enough to tell you.

So, I did what any chiropractic patient and conscientious blogger would do – I talked to my chiropractor. If you’re planning a vacation, you will want to pay attention because I got some good advice that will help me and my back stay healthy and happy, which is apt because I am traveling to the happiest place on earth.

What Are You Packing?

You rarely go into an amusement park without a backpack of some type to carry around all your stuff. One of the most important things you can do to protect your back is to choose your bag wisely. Make sure you have a backpack that has padded shoulder straps and fits your body well. A heavy bag will murder your back, but so will a bag that doesn’t have the weight distributed correctly. That’s why it’s really important to make sure you get a bag with two shoulder straps and wear both straps at all times. If you balance your bag on just one shoulder, then it can create imbalances that will make back pain and discomfort worse.

Also, don’t pack too much stuff – no one needs to carry around a 40-pound bag all day. Your bag should not exceed 10 percent of your body weight at any point. Keep it closer to five percent and you’ll be golden in the eyes of your chiropractor! Think Tinkerbell, not Dumbo; after all, that backpack doesn’t have wings.

Fashion Sense

I may or may not have spent the last couple of months planning my outfits for Walt Disney World – so sue me! I’m wearing my “foolish mortal” shirt with pride! Another thing I’m wearing with pride? Really sturdy and supportive shoes.

Sure, Minnie Mouse looks cute in her little heels and all, but her little mouse feet have got to be killing her at the end of the day, along with every other part of her little mouse body. I have to admit that I secretly cringe when I see people walking around in flip-flops all day – if your chiropractor saw that, he may just have a coronary. No, if you’re walking close to 10 miles per day (which is totally possible in the World), you need a pair of shoes that can help to absorb shock and provide good support.

Look for a shoe that has a cushioning sole and proper arch support. It also helps to choose a shoe that has laces. That way, you can tighten them on your feet, reducing the risk that your feet will slide around in them all day. That’s because another thing you want to avoid when you’re walking that much is blisters. No thanks.

Use Your Head

There are a ton of rides at amusement parks that look like a great time, but if you’ve got back problems you should proceed with caution. They don’t put up those warning signs to add to the anticipation and excitement – if you’ve got a bad back, a heart condition, neck pain, or are pregnant and it’s warning you not to ride, then you should probably heed that warning.

I don’t know about you but I’m ready for my off-season vacation. I’ve had my adjustment, I’ve got my supportive yet fashionable shoes, I’ve got my bags packed (lightly) and my mouse ears firmly fixed to my head. I also have the address and phone number of the nearest location of The Joint Chiropractic saved into my phone – just in case! There may be only one Disney World, but thank goodness The Joint has more than 350 locations nationwide! There aren’t even that many dalmatians. After all, I have to take care of Harriet.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off for fun I go …

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