Travelling is one of life’s many enjoyments. For many, it is what they work toward each year, and it brings them adventure and memories they will have for a lifetime. But travelling in a car or a ‘plane for long hours can make anyone sore and especially for those travelling with injuries, it can be a nightmare.
Being prepared for your next trip is the key to a pain-free successful excursion.
Keeping your spine in good alignment is important when you travel. If you are in a ‘plane, the cabin pressure can cause your back to ache due to mild swelling in the lumbar discs.
Or if you are travelling in a car, the vibration alone can create some back soreness. A lumbar roll or extra pillow slipped behind your back can keep your spine in neutral and reduce the strain. Adjust your seat in the car so that you are close to the steering wheel and your knees are a little above your hips. If you are a passenger, feel free to adjust your seat frequently. A cervical pillow helps keep your neck in a good position as well, and stops that embarrassing head bobble when you drift off to sleep. Believe me, you can give yourself whiplash if you are not careful.
Give yourself time for breaks if you are driving. Getting out of the car for only a minute can make an enormous difference in your comfort over the long haul. Our bodies need to move in order to stay limber, and when we don’t, we begin to feel stiff. If driving, move your hands into different positions to reduce the muscle tightness in your neck. If travelling in a ‘plane, try to get an aisle seat, so you can get up and move around. Stand in the aisle and do some back extensions to help reverse the curve of sitting and lubricate those discs. Pump your ankles and feet to help your circulation and increase blood flow through your whole body.
Remember to wear comfortable clothing, so that you can do a few stretches when you are gassing your car up, or waiting for your ‘plane.
How many times do we over pack! Lugging all those extra clothes and shoes around from one venue to the next just puts extra strain on your joints and muscles. The new bags with four wheels are much better and reduce the amount of lifting required, but they still need to be put onto baggage carriages, dragged up and down stairs, and pulled up and down long ramps. If you are not used to these awkward positions, it can be extremely hard on the arms and back. Often the simple answer is to just pack less!
It is important to keep hydrated before, during and after long trips. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and tightness, so be sure to have easy access to water at all times.
Travelling with an Injury
If you are travelling with a previous injury that you have been rehabilitating, ask your health care provider what specific exercises you can do while on your trip. If you require specific stretches, you can use your luggage strap to get the best mobility out of the muscle. A piece of Theraband can be tucked away in your bag and will keep you strong if you don’t have access to weights. Don’t put your injury on holiday, and try to be proactive while you are away.
Being prepared before your next trip will increase your enjoyment and help reduce travel soreness.
Originally Published: November 18, 2017
Written by Dana Goodfellow, RMT, D.Ac. Owner – Quinte Mind & Body
Now that fall is upon us and the beautiful colours of nature are everywhere in sight, this usually calls for frequent excursions and
road trips. Most of us hop in the car and take advantage of visiting the cities, cottages, trails and beautiful wine country we live so close to. Whether it’s just for the day or for an extended period of time, you want to avoid those aches and pains that come with driving long distances.
Here are my top five tips for preventing driving stiffness and pain:
1. Properly adjust your seat and headrest. You should continue the rule of 90 degrees with each joint when you are seated. This means your hips and elbows should be as close to 90 degrees of flexion as you can get them. Your head should be straight forward, creating that 90 degree angle at your chin, not angled up or down. Make sure your head is actually in line with your shoulders and resting against your headrest. We often extend our neck and head forward when driving, this creates strain and bad posture, which turns into pain and headaches.
2. Perform easy and safe stretches when possible. When you are at a stop light is a good time to do simple neck stretches and re-correct your posture.
3. Take frequent breaks to get out of the car and stretch your lower body and walk around. This promotes blood flow and loosens joints that will become stiff.
4. If you have heated seats, use them for lower body pain. Even in the hot weather having the heat on our muscles in our low back and glutes will prevent and ease any stiffness and tension in muscles.
5. Always plan! If you are driving for a long period of time, make sure you stretch your body well before you get in the car. This will help in the long run and prevent pain from occurring.
If you feel numbness and tingles in any of your extremities, shoulders, glutes or low back while driving, make sure you schedule an appointment with a health care provider. This is usually due to a nerve compression and is easily treatable if caught early. If you are feeling these symptoms or any other that concern you, feel free to contact our office. We would be happy to take care of you.
Dana can be reached at quintemindandbody.com
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Written by Sharon Harrison
After a summer spent relaxing, taking vacations or visiting family and friends, autumn seems an odd time to be thinking about travel. For some, it is the best time of year to take up the challenge as fall travel options can offer more flexibility. The weather is often more agreeable, accommodation and flights cheaper, the price of gas magically goes down, the kids are back in school and things are generally a little more relaxed.
The travel bug can take hold sometimes without warning, and for some it is a call they must answer. Others will wander and discover, seeking out new things for a few years, but once it’s out of their system, the pull for adventure subsides as life gets busy. Sometimes, the need for exploration resurfaces once family has grown and flown, and desire and finances allow for greater opportunities.
Travelling doesn’t have to be a visit to a far and distance land. The desire to roam could mean driving an hour from home to explore a new place. The destination need not be a thousand miles away; it could just as easily be one hundred miles or less from base.
Whether you decide to rove far or near, for some a trip of a lifetime, often to an exotic locale, is a must-do on their agenda. It could be a bucket list item or a way to mark a significant milestone. The trip may be a solitary one, perhaps to forget a bad relationship or simply to allow thinking time away from everyday schedules. It was Julia Roberts who showed women everywhere just how this can be achieved in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book and cinematic adaptation of Eat Pray Love.
Travel in its many forms can be many things to many people. It can teach the intrepid traveller new things, educate us, change our outlook on life; make us more creative, inspire us, fill our minds with extraordinary ideas, exposing us to different cultures, showing us different places and perhaps most importantly, introduce us to people who we may not get to interact with on an average day. Travel can broaden horizons and the mind, allowing us to grow and develop as individuals. Going on a jaunt can mean pressing the reset button as it may even alter the path and direction we may take going forward.
Not everyone has the opportunity to discover new and extraordinary lands because adventure isn’t always a possibility. But what about virtual travel? Online browsing has never been easier to access: almost every town in the world is there, right at our fingertips waiting to be discovered and explored. While knowledge was once gained mainly through books and in libraries, thanks to people, the internet, Google Street View and more, we can view almost any place from almost any location on the planet.
Why not stay home, pick a country or a town at will from a map, insert a place name into a search engine and see where it takes you? Or grab a few travel books or magazines from the library or bookstore. Call it travelling without travelling as we allow ourselves to be transported to the other side of the world in a few clicks of a mouse or from the pages of a book. Some call it desktop travelling, others virtual touring, but why not allow your computer or device to take you far and wide while you redefine what travel means to you? Check out local hotels, the city’s art galleries, places of interest and the sights and sounds of a random place without ever leaving home as you embark on your unique journey.
Travelling should always about the journey rather than the destination and can be a reminder of what we can achieve as individuals; it refocuses the mind, and if we glean nothing else from it, it allows us to dream of adventure and exotic places, people and food, and maybe even love. It’s about connecting, stepping outside our comfort zone and satisfying a need.
Embarking on an excursion can make you feel good, filling you with wondrous thoughts, providing you with new ideas to pursue. And while travelling can be an exhausting experience, it also has the ability to replenish energy stores and renew our enthusiasm and zest for life.
While planning is key for any adventure, not least because it can save you time, trouble and money, simply taking off, spontaneously following paths unknown is greatly encouraged as you let the road map your way. Whether it’s defined as wanderlust or something else entirely, the desire for discovering new places, the lust for a change of scenery, or the need to simply wander maybe just what the doctor ordered.
Travel is good for brain and heart health. Known to decrease depression, increase happiness, lower stress levels, help with anxiety and improve mood, travel can expand the mind, expose you to new people, new places and new situations. Taking time off can make you more productive at work and improve personal relationships, and the benefits to our mental health and self-esteem are extensive and long lasting.
Next time you decide to stay home rather than take a trip, even a short one, consider this: those who make travel a part of life can generally expect a longer life expectancy. And what better way to celebrate United Nations World Tourism Day which falls annually each September 27th.
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