Are You Planning A Trip? Advice From A Physiotherapist So That Sleeping On A Plane Does Not Cause Pain In Your Neck And Back

I love going on vacation, but traveling has a weird way of making me feel old. Inevitably, I pulled muscles trying to lift my bag to store it in the upper compartment of the plane. My lower back hurts during long car rides. And the neck after a short nap in the plane.

Not surprisingly, traveling causes pain and sometimes even injury. “You’re out of your zone, you’re changing your ways,” said Dr. DJ Kennedy, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. You’re doing things like hauling a 30-pound suitcase while running several miles to catch your connecting flight. And this position is probably not something your body has trained for.

With summer travel in the United States approaching pre-pandemic levels, I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience and wonder What can be done to relieve travel-induced aches and pains. So for this week’s newsletter, because I have a cross-country flight in a few days, I spoke to a physical therapist and two doctors for advice.

“When you’re planning a vacation, keep your body’s strengths and limitations in mind”, Dr. Kennedy suggested. If sitting in a car for a long time gives you back pain, a week-long road trip Wouldn’t be your best option.

But if you really want to travel knowing that it may cause physical discomfort, you can take Steps for advance preparation. “If you have arthritis in your knee, it hurts to walk, but you can still go on walks, recommends seeing a physical therapist in the months leading up to your trip to improve your range of motion and stamina. Dr. Kennedy said.. or, adding: “You might consider getting injections to reduce swelling and pain. Be sure to also bring a doctor-recommended pain reliever in case you need it. “

When it comes to handling luggage, the best way pack light So that the bag is not heavy. But for some people (including me) this is not possible. fortunately, There are ways to make the heavy stuff more manageable.

Bags with wheels cause less injury and pain than carrying them by hand or on the shoulder.Shutterstock – Shutterstock

Dr. Kennedy said it was less likely Wheeled bags are less likely to cause injury and pain than hand or shoulder bags. In this sense, she prefers carry bags on four wheels rather than two, as they require less effort to move. “The airport trolley can also be useful for carrying luggage”, Told.

,If you need to carry a bag on your body, a backpack is the best option.” A physician at Cleveland Clinic Spine Health Center in Ohio, Dr. Deborah Vanessy said, explaining the importance of Hang it using both straps to distribute the weight evenly. Colleen Lowe, an Iowa-based physical therapist and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association, said backpacks They should hang evenly in the middle of the back, not against the small of the back, and the straps should be adjusted to make it easier to put on and take off the pack.

“If you’re having trouble lifting your luggage, don’t hesitate to ask for help,” said Dr. Kennedy. (He is a former competitive lifter, but said he has a shoulder injury and usually asks for help lifting his bag in the upper compartment of the plane.)

About an hour after every car or plane ride, my back starts to ache, And that is partly because bodies are not made to be stable. “Movement is necessary to maintain blood flow to muscles and joints to help prevent stiffness and pain,” Ms. Lou explained. “If you’re in pain, ideally get up and move around at least once an hour,” advises Dr. Kennedy. If you have trouble remembering to do this, set an alarm or drink a lot of water, that way you’ll have to get up to go to the bathroom again and again”, suggests Dr. Vanesy and admits that she wants to face the aisle. Get up to chase you like the seats.

When you’re planning a vacation, consider your body’s strengths and limitations.Shutterstock – Shutterstock

Regarding the seating arrangement, Ms. Lu said that maintain an upright or slightly bent position This is usually the best position for the spine. Dr. Vanesy said a good strategy is to roll up the sweatshirt or coat and Place it behind the lower back as it acts as a lumbar support to relieve pain.

pull Might be useful too. “A good stretch to do while seated is a spine stretch, where you place both hands on one leg and slowly twist your upper body in the same direction, then repeat on the other side,” he said. Dr. Vanessa. “Another option for the part lower back and hips It is a stretch in the form of a four, in which the right heel rests on the left knee and you bend forward, and vice versa”, said the doctor. Dr. Kennedy suggested another option: Stand up and lean back slightly, and if it bothers or hurts, you can choose to lean forward.

“C Experimental CWires in legs while sitting Try pumping your ankles, pointing alternately and then bend your legs, bend and stretch your knees,” suggests Ms. Louv.

If you are like me and look down a lot during flights or as a passenger in the car you look at your phone, tablet or book. “but This position can cause neck pain. Dr. Kennedy said. much better to doBring things up to eye level. “Some planes now come with devices that allow you to hang your phone or tablet on the back of the seat in front of you,” he said. You can also buy special accessories for this or even make one with the disposable bags they provide in flight.

If you think you can sleep in both a plane and a car, you can also invest in one neck pillow Dr. Kennedy prefers designs that are thinner in the back than at the sides, because they don’t tilt your head too far forward when you lean back on the seat.

I’m not going to be able to implement all of these tips for my next trip and I’m sure my bag will be below the usual maximum weight limit, but I’m going to make some changes to my travel habits. Sure. I’ve never stretched on a plane before, but this time I’ll be in the aisle seat with unintentionally stretching hips, Ignoring everyone’s prying eyes.

by Melinda Weiner-Moyer

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