Many people travel to and from Portugal; long distances by plane, by car (by bike?)... I know this, because once they arrive, they come and see me because they have back pain from travelling!
Even though I love helping everyone, I think we can all agree it's better to prevent this...
So I hereby present the 9 golden travel tips for travelling without back pain (or preventing it from getting worse)!
1. Take an aisle seat
When flying, book a seat at the aisle so you have some space to stretch your legs and can easily get up to stand for a bit or walk up and down the aisle. Sitting for too long is not good for anyone!
2. Bring a pillow
Make the journey as comfortable as possible. Sometimes even something as simple as placing a little pillow behind your back, or sitting on it, might already ease your symptoms and improve your posture.
3. Keep moving
You can move your spine by standing up, walking and stretching. Even when you're not getting out of your seat you can still keep your joints moving. For example, lift up one knee at a time to create some movement in your pelvis. Bend and extend your knees or draw circles with your feet to prevent those joints from stiffening up. Cabin pressure can actually change the pressure in your joints as well, making them feel even stiffer. So, keep moving!
4. Use a trolley
Have you got heavy luggage to carry at the airport? Load your bags onto one of those trolleys to make it easier for yourself. When you need to put your bags into the overhead compartment, ask someone for help if your bag is too heavy for you to lift!
5. Use a pain relieving product (e.g. Biofreeze)
It can be quite a pain when you're back is already hurting before the plane takes off. Using a pain relieving product like Biofreeze can help. It's a completely natural product that can be applied to the skin. Topical products like Biofreeze work a bit like an ice pack, stimulating the blood circulation and helping the muscles to relax. And remember, it's drug-free!
6. Adjust car seat
Even though sometimes it's pretty chilled to have the car seat in a lean-back mode, it's not so ideal to drive long distances in that position. Make sure you adjust your car seat to ensure you can maintain a good posture throughout the trip. Also think about the blood circulation in your legs; if you can change the height of the seat this might work wonders too!
7. Make regular stops
This actually applies to anything that requires being in the same position for a longer time: don't sit or drive for too long! Don't keep driving until your back starts aching. Stopping regularly and stretching your legs can actually help to prevent the pain from starting in the first place. If you're already experiencing some problems with your back, it's even more important to stop frequently.
8. Drink water
Have you ever thought about the purpose of the 60-65% water that we are? It makes our body function. When not drinking enough, it might limit the body's functionality and as a result cause pain. It's always important to drink enough, but especially when you're travelling long distances and might end up in a situation where you cannot get water, always carry a bottle with you!
9. Don't sleep in the car or on the plane
Or when you do, try to find a position in which your neck won't get all cranked up. Use a travel pillow, or if you have the possibility change the position of the seat.
Keep these tips in mind for your next journey! Even though they will help, the probable (slight) discomfort that comes with travelling might still cause some alterations in your spine. I therefore recommend always having your spine checked after long journeys.
If you experience any back- neck- or other joint problems (whether or not from travelling), make an appointment for a treatment or contact me for any questions.
+351 917 482 144