Pre-Travel Chiropractic: Your Passport to a Good Time

By Martha Michael

Middle Aged Friends Playing While on Vacation

When you hit the customs line on vacation this year, make sure the only baggage you’re carrying is your suitcase.

Whether you’re kickin’ it in the Caymans, touring Tibet, or going to Graceland, you don’t want the burden of sore joints or a bad back to turn practically perfect into barely bearable. A little action in advance plus a few hints while on your trip will give you the best chance of maintaining your health on holiday.

Pack a Little Prevention

You don’t have to suffer from arthritis to benefit from suggestions on the Arthritis Foundation website about how to increase your chances of pain-free travel. And it all begins way before lift-off.

The first involves booking. If you’ve got physical challenges, it’s ideal to book a mid-week flight because there are fewer crowds and less lengthy lines. If your legs are the issue, you should try to choose a seat with extra legroom, such as the bulkhead, or at least on the aisle. You can even compare seat sizes from entire airline companies, and Consumer Reports offers ideas for getting greater legroom for free. Their research showed JetBlue offered the most seat room and most comfortable seating.

Another possible advantage for travelers who tend to suffer aching muscles can be found at the rental car agency. The Arthritis Foundation says that Avis Rent-a-Car’s Access program has cars available with hand controls and swivel seats, plus you can check with the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality for more ideas.

When booking your hotel, reserve a room on the ground floor or at least near an elevator, or ask for an ADA accessible room. In many cases, there are spa facilities, exercise rooms, and Jacuzzis for additional relief from symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain or other conditions.

Traveling with a friend is a good idea, says Arthritis.org. Or you can pick up a device that’s designed to offer assistance, such as a reacher/gripper, a travel chair or a folding cane.

Pre-Trip Chiropractic Care

Weeks, or even months, before you leave, visit your chiropractor. When your practitioner takes a history and completes a comprehensive exam, he or she can give you recommendations to offset possible roadblocks to your comfort.

Many vacations include a lot of walking, which weighs down the spine and places pressure on the joints and surrounding tissues. Your chiropractor can help train you to correct your posture and make you aware of proper lifting, reaching and sitting positions, which you can utilize during travel to assuage any threat of muscle ache. Ergonomic training and exercise education will go a long way to minimize the damage incurred by activities during travel.

While on Holiday

A common problem travelers experience is heartburn, especially due to the wide variety of foods you sample at buffets and foreign restaurants. Health.com explains the process in which your full stomach places too much pressure on the valve leading to your esophagus, which then causes acid reflux. Internist Holly Phillips, MD, is quoted in the article suggesting over-the-counter antacids such as Prilosec to cut it off at the pass. There’s another practical remedy: Sit up and sip water while allowing gravity to keep the acid down.

If it’s an active vacay (think skiing, surfing, mountain climbing) you may experience muscle soreness or back pain. “Go with gentler activities, like walking or a low-key bike ride, to increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps them recover. … Ease soreness with ice or a cold bottle of water,” says sports medicine physician Jordan Metzl, MD from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. "It happens even if you're reasonably fit -- you simply engaged different parts of the body more intensely than usual."

You may have thought the price of admission for the trip across neighboring states or that stamp on your passport was putting up with nagging aches and pains, but it isn’t so. Setting up some preventive measures will increase the likelihood that when you’re wheels up this summer, you’re really off to a better place.

Download your offer today and save!

$ 29 * Initial Visit Includes consultation, exam & adjustment

Offer valued at $39. Valid for new patients only. See clinic for chiropractor(s)' name and license info. Clinics managed and/or owned by franchisee or Prof. Corps. Restrictions may apply to Medicare eligible patients. Individual results may vary.