One of the most common statements from patients is “I went out of town for a few days and now my back (or neck) is killing me.” Traveling can be stressful and unfortunately it can cause injuries or flare up previous dysfunctions. Here are a few earth tops that anyone can use to help prevent PTSD (Post Trip Strain Disorder):
- Dress properly. Do you get to the airport 20 minutes before takeoff? Nope, most likely because you are likely to spend 30+ minutes standing in security and can end up walking a mile or two, to and from the gate. Wearing a good pair of shoes can help to reduce the stress from this.
- Travel light. Lugging around and lifting a 50 pound bag is asking for trouble. When possible travel light. Try to not carry your bag on the same side all day, causing unilateral muscle strain. When traveling light is not an option, the airport is staffed with countless people that will help with the heavy lifting, leave it to the professionals.
- Don’t sleep. What is the best position to sleep on a plane or on a long drive? There really isn’t one. Prolonged neck torsion and stress of the associated muscles is a leading cause of cervical dysfunction. Don’t use that time in transit as opportunity to catch up on some z’s.
- Take breaks. Planning on driving across the state or a 3 hour flight? Take the time to stand up and stretch for just a couple minutes each hour. Traveling sitting is directly correlated to the stress that causes damage to the discs in your back. So get up to save those, you need them.
- Sit smart. When driving on longer trips avoid holding the wheel with one arm on the top of the wheel, also avoid holding at the classic ten and two. Try holding the wheel with both hands at the bottom of the wheel with both arms resting on your lap. This will reduce the stress across the shoulders that leads to neck and back pain. On a plane try to hold your book or tablet at eye level on some of the flight to avoid the stress on your neck from looking down for too long.