Many people enjoy traveling, but quite a few are concerned that their travels will cause aches and pains. These aren’t only uncomfortable, but can ruin your trip. If you’re looking for easy ways to avoid aches and pains while on the go, keep reading. Below you’ll find a handful of helpful tips you can keep in mind.
Common Traveling Ailments
There are a variety of ailments that can affect travelers. Some of these are:
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle knots
- Tingling nerves
Many times these issues occur because of incorrect lifting techniques or long periods of sitting.
8 Ways to Prevent Aches and Pain When Traveling
1. Don’t Overpack
A common problem when traveling is overpacking. Many travelers try to pack as much as they can so they are prepared, but this can cause more harm than good. If you overpack, it can make your luggage difficult to haul. Because of this, you’ll find yourself straining your body to lift and move it.
Ideally, only pack the essentials. If you’re concerned you might be tempted to overpack, consider investing in a smaller suitcase. This way, you’ll have limited space so you can only bring what you need.
2. Watch How You Lift Your Luggage
In addition to not overpacking, you should be diligent to lift your luggage correctly. When you need to lift it up, space your legs slightly apart and squat down next to it. Grab onto your luggage and then use your legs to lift your body up. By doing this, it will prevent you from straining your back which could lead to severe pain.
Many aches and pains are the result of sitting for long periods of time in one position. If you sit in a certain position for too long, it will cause your muscles to contract. This can lead to muscle knots and cramps. By stretching, it will loosen up these muscles and prevent them from tightening.
There are a handful of easy stretches you can do while on the go. Below are three to try.
This exercise is designed to relieve back and leg pain. It can also stretch your lower back.
To do it, lie on your back and bend your knees. Bend your knees toward your chest and use your arms to hold them in place for a few seconds. Release your legs to the original position. Continue this stretch about three more times.
Shoulder shrugs can help improve your posture while strengthening your shoulder and neck muscles.
All you need to do is sit with proper posture and lift your shoulders up toward your ears as much as you can. Hold for a few seconds and then release. While shrugging your shoulders also turn your head to the left and right. This will stretch out your trapezius muscles.
Hip Flexor Stretch
This type of stretch strengthens your hips while increasing your mobility.
To begin, stand with proper posture while keeping your legs aligned with your hips. Bend your left leg and bring your heel up so that it touches your buttocks. Hold your leg in place with your right hand for a few seconds and then release. Repeat with your right leg.
You might also want to invest in a yoga strap to carry around with you. This tool will encourage you to stretch more while increasing your flexibility.
4. Drink Enough Water
If your body is dehydrated it can make your muscles contract. This could lead to painful spasms that make it difficult for you to enjoy your trip. To prevent this, make sure to drink enough water, especially if you plan to be outside or do a strenuous activity. Ideally, drink about 6-8 glasses of water per day.
5. Visit a Chiropractor
You might also want to consider stopping by a chiropractor. A chiropractor can help reduce any current pain you might have while preventing future aches and pains. At first, your chiropractor will ask about your ailments and feel around your body to find any signs of inflammation or misplaced joints. After doing so, they will adjust your body with various techniques. These might include the direct thrust technique, activator technique, and drop table technique.
Your chiropractor might also incorporate massage therapy into your session. Massage therapy can soothe sore muscles and increase blood flow. It will also relax your body by releasing positive hormones like endorphins and dopamine. You can use massage therapy in Anchorage to assist with this.
6. Eat Healthy
A healthy diet can help reduce many common aches and pains when traveling. If you eat food high in sugar or fat, it can wear your body down. This could lead to inflammation that causes muscle pain and poor mobility. It will also make you feel lethargic because your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.
To prepare your body for the journey, eat as healthy as you can. You’ll also want to do your best to choose healthy food and snacks during your travels.
Some items to add to your diet include:
- Greek yogurt
- Bell pepper
7. Try Heat Therapy
Heat therapy might also be beneficial for traveling aches and pains. When you apply heat to sore and painful areas, it opens up your blood vessels which increase blood flow. When fresh blood circulates through the affected area, it will provide it with oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal. This will end up reducing the inflammation and helping you recover faster.
8. Use a Lumbar-Support Pillow
A lumbar support pillow can be useful at preventing and relieving back pain. Its unique design ensures that your spine’s natural curve stays in position. This prevents pressure and strain on your lower vertebrae. To use it, simply slide it behind your lower back.
You can purchase a travel-size lumbar pillow to bring with you that will fit in your luggage or carry-on bag.
Traveling can be a fun adventure but it can sometimes be daunting if you’re suffering from aches and pains. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to avoid many common problems that affect travelers.
Guest post written by: Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is a licensed chiropractor who founded Better Health Chiropractic Juneau in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries. He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care, physical rehab therapy, and chiropractic massage. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.