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How to Travel in Pain-Free Style

By Debra Rodzinak

The holiday season means extended travel for many people.  For those who suffer with back or neck pain, a long trip can be a daunting experience.  Planes, trains, automobiles, or buses are not the most comfortable way to sit for extended periods of time.  This can aggravate the back and neck.  Some ways to reduce or avoid back and neck pain are simple if followed during the trip.

Back Support

Since most seats don’t provide the right type of support for your back or neck, bringing a lumbar pillow can make the most uncomfortable seat feel comfy and cozy.  If you forget your support pillow, even a rolled up jacket or blanket can provide some support for the curve at the lower back.  For the neck, a supportive neck pillow can give you the added stability when traveling long distances. 

Foot Support

When thinking of back support, it might seem odd to support the feet.  However, the leverage received from the feet when placed on a firm surface while sitting helps to reduce stress on the lower back.  If you find that your seat is too high, rest your feet on a footrest.  Keeping the knees at a right angle helps to avoid stress on the lower back.  If you are driving, try using the cruise control for longer drives and place both feet on the floorboard.

Move More

Since the spine is designed for movement, sitting for an extended period of time can cause the back muscles to become stiff, which puts stress on the spine.  If possible, every 30 minutes get up and move around and stretch.  Moving the core muscles stimulates blood flow and brings vital nutrients and oxygen to the back structures.  The soft tissues of the lower back become stiff and will ache if blood is not circulated often.  If you are in a vehicle and unable to get up and walk around, stretch as much as possible and move around. 

Prep with Chiropractic

Before you begin on a trip of any length, have your posture checked with a chiropractic treatment.  Poor posture puts additional stress and strain on the spine.  Ensuring that the back is properly aligned with the rest of the body can prevent stiffness and soreness. 

If you are planning a trip this holiday season, come by The Joint for a gentle spinal adjustment.  With over 350 locations, finding a convenient location is easy.  With no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember, beginning your trip with a properly aligned spine is stress-free.

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