Traveling Free of Pain

November 28, 2019

Many young people are enjoying pain free trip
Courtney Nguyen

Traveling can be a very exciting time for some people if they are going on vacation and they do not travel much. On the other hand, some people travel very frequently whether for work and/or for leisure. The unfortunate thing about traveling is the strain that it puts on your body, specifically the back, muscles, and joints. Personally, I travel quite frequently for leisure purposes which is great and exciting. Unfortunately, I certainly feel a strain on my back and/or neck after sitting for long periods of time. Many times I come back from traveling feeling mentally refreshed but my body feels achy and needs a vacation. Fortunately, though there are many things that are within your control which can help to provide some relief and care to your body so to avoid the body pains from traveling.

When traveling luggage is something that we have by default so to have our belongings with us such as clothes and toiletries etc. Many people nowadays are having their luggage brought with them on an airplane as a carry on item. People carry on their luggage to their flight as to prevent it from getting lost. I personally always carry my luggage onto a flight, but the difficult thing is when it has to go into the overhead bin. Putting luggage into the overhead bin requires having to lift it over your head. When lifting luggage, it is imperative to use proper lifting techniques. These techniques include:

- Bending at your knees and squatting to lift heavy items, never bend at the waist as this puts strain onto the back

- When bending, carry the weight in your leg muscles instead of using your back muscles

- Hold items close to your chest rather than forward in front of your body

- Distribute the weight evenly to both sides of your body, instead of putting all the weight on one side

- Move your body to meet your luggage, rather than pulling your luggage to meet your body

- Always move slowly and carefully, being aware of your surroundings at all times so you know how much room you have to handle your luggage

Whenever you are traveling with luggage it is important to lift in stages as to not move too quickly, which essentially would strain the back. When lifting luggage into an overhead bin on an airplane, lifting your luggage and placing it on the top of the seat then lifting the luggage to the overhead bin would be an example of lifting in multiple steps. When packing the car with luggage a similar sequence can be performed -  lift the luggage and place onto a stepstool or a chair and then lift it to put it into the back of the car. By doing things in a stepwise motion it enables you to lift slowly and carefully so that you are aware of your motions instead of moving quickly and not using proper body mechanics, which results in body injuries.

Many times I travel with other people that do not travel frequently, and one of the most common things I see is people over packing. It is important to avoid over packing and try not to use luggage that is bulky or hard to maneuver. Many suitcases nowadays have wheels and are smaller, therefore it would be beneficial to use this. Only packing truly the essentials of what you are going to need during time away will provide a lighter luggage load and therefore less that will need to be lifted.

No matter what you do for precautions for your luggage, you can still do some preventative measures for your back too while traveling. These precautionary measures include:

- Monitor your posture

  • Make sure both of your feet are flat on a stable surface
  • Ensure your lower back is pressed against the seatback
  • Aligned both of your ears over your shoulders without your chin forward, and your shoulders should be aligned over your hips, as to prevent hunching your back
  • The headrest should support the middle of your head and not push your head forward

- Apply heat and/or ice to your lower back and neck

- Move as much as possible

  • Take short and frequent walks
  • Stretch your legs
  • Stretch your neck

Whenever one has any back or neck pain/discomfort, massage is something that is beneficial in providing relief and release of tension/stiffness. Many people find that massage is very beneficial for any discomfort they may have whether in their back or their neck. Benefits of massage include:

- Increased blood flow and circulation, which provides muscles and tissues with the needed nutrition. This helps in the recovery of muscle soreness from activity or injury

- Decreases tension in muscles. This helps to improve flexibility, and reduce pain caused by tight muscles

One option for massage can be found through FlexiSpot – back massager BM1. This massager helps to break up knots and release tension that may be in your neck, shoulders, back, arms, and legs just to name a few. The great thing about this massager is that it is cordless and you are able to use it up to 100 minutes cordless. This would be great for travels to bring along to help provide your body a relief from tightness/soreness that results from travels. You are able to do five different speeds and four different massages so you are able to choose what you feel to be appropriate for you – whether a deep tissue massage or a gentle massage.

In summary, traveling is a great thing to do and it helps to create memories and also gives you opportunities to explore a wide variety of places. The unfortunate thing is that the body can be burdened with the travels from different things including back injury from lifting luggage, back and neck pains from inappropriate posture and not getting up enough to stretch and move around. One thing that would be beneficial to help relieve tension in your muscles would be cordless back massager. This will help to release tension and knots and help to reduce pain and increase the circulation to the muscles thereby resulting in recovery. It is important to take care of the body and not let yourself be in pain. 

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