Children and young adults are able to hop in cars and airplanes, spend all day on their feet, and sleep in strange beds without being affected. When you get a little older, you have to think a bit more about your neck and your back. A simple mistake and you could be dealing with spinal pain throughout the duration of your trip and even long after.
Don’t skip your vacation because you worry about dealing with back and spinal pain! There are things you can do to keep your neck and back healthy so you can enjoy every minute of your vacation:
- Drive carefully;
- Stretch every day;
- Be mindful of your posture;
- Lift and carry luggage the right way;
- Bring your own pillow.
1. Drive Carefully
If you’re doing any driving at all on your vacation, you should make sure you’re focusing behind the wheel. A simple mistake in an area you aren’t familiar with can lead to an accident. With over 16,000 accidents in the United States every day, it’s easy to see how you could find yourself in a crash which can severely injure your neck and back, not to mention, ruin your vacation.
Don’t text or talk on the phone while you’re driving, but you should also lay down some rules if you’re driving with children who could distract you. Make sure you stop often to give your body a break, and if you’re traveling with another adult, take turns driving so you aren’t hunched over the wheel for hours on end.
You may want to consider not driving at all, if you can. Take public transportation or an Uber in populated metropolitan areas instead of driving a car.
2. Stretch Every Day
Not only should you pull the car over and stretch every few hours, you should also make time to stretch every day even after you arrive at your destination. There are many benefits of stretching regularly that include:
- Increased flexibility;
- Increased range of motion;
- Increased blood flow to your muscles;
- Decreases tension headaches.
Of course, it can also heal and prevent back pain! Tight muscles decrease your range of motion, which means you’re at an increased risk of straining the muscles in your back. When they are pliable and loose, you’re less likely to experience back pain.
3. Be Mindful of Your Posture
Regular stretching can help you with your posture, but you should also be mindful of how you’re sitting and standing while you’re on vacation. It’s easy to slouch simply because it’s easier than sitting up straight.
Posture tips include sticking out your butt while you sit instead of straightening up your back to get better posture, wearing the right undergarments, and using a lumbar pillow for additional support when you sit. It’s also a good idea to find places to sit with back support, like up against a wall instead of sitting on the curb or in the grass.
4. Lift and Carry Luggage the Right Way
Dealing with luggage on vacation can be annoying, but it can impact your vacation from start to finish if you don’t lift and carry your bags the right way.
The proper lifting technique involves bending at your knees to lift heavy items, like duffel bags and rolling luggage. You should also try and distribute your bags evenly when carrying them, which means placing the straps across your body instead of carrying bags on just one side of your body. A backpack is even better for your posture, as long as the straps are tightened so the bag hangs on your mid back and not your lower back.
5. Bring Your Own Pillow
Hotels do everything they can to make you comfortable, but that doesn’t mean what they have on the bed is what’s best for your back. You can’t do anything about the kind of mattress that the hotel offers, but you can do something about the pillow.
There are a lot of great pillows out there if you suffer from back and neck pain. Chances are, you have a pillow you like at home. Bring it with you when you travel! If you worry about how much room it will take up in your luggage, place it in a vaccuum bag and it will fit in your bag.
Don’t spend your entire vacation dealing with a kink in your neck or a sore back! Follow these tips and you can enjoy great spinal health no matter where your travels take you.
Keep being AllDayChic!