By DR. KENNETH HANSRAJ
Vacations are meant to be relaxing, but traveling can cause increased stress on the body and ultimately be a literal pain in the neck and spine. With 80 percent of Americans suffering from back pain, the thought of a long trip in an uncomfortable seat can be discouraging. Luckily, back pain associated with travel can be greatly reduced and, in many cases, avoided with a few easy steps.
Prepare: Cut the time you spend standing in long lines by planning ahead. Buy e-tickets, take advantage of frequent-flyer perks, use check-in by smartphone and check your luggage curbside. This will eliminate the time spent standing and carrying bags.
Travel Light: Don’t overpack. A light suitcase will reduce the stress on your shoulders and spine. Pick a suitcase with wheels and a handle for rolling.
Check Your Posture: Sitting for prolonged periods can strain the back and improper posture can make it even worse. To provide the most relief, make sure your spine is aligned against the back of the seat and the headrest is supporting the middle part of your head. Keep the shoulders straight and avoid rounding forward. Both feet should be firmly resting on the floor.
It’s All in the Legs: Keep your legs out in the extended position. The bent or flexed position leads may cause a blood clot to form in the leg veins. Make sure you get up and walk and stretch your legs and arms at least once an hour.
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