Updated: Jun 27
The patients that come get treated by us in Wyckoff, NJ have had to find out the hard way that their spine is not designed to be sitting for long hours. There have been many instances where patients come in to see our physical therapist for low back pain immediately after a trip where they have been sitting in a car or plane for a long period of time. Unfortunately, what most people don't know is that precautions can be made before, during, and after traveling to prevent low back pain.
First, travel lightly. It is better to ditch the heavy suitcase and use two small ones with each weighing less than 20 pounds. Also, packing a neck or lumbar pillow will help support your spine and stop it from being in harmful positions. A lumbar support pillow is a great investment and should be used while you are sitting (on a plane, in a car, at the breakfast table, desk or while relaxing on the patio) to maintain the normal lumbar curve. This is a lumbar roll that we recommend to everyone, Click Here To View. If you forget to bring one you could make one out of a rolled-up sweatshirt, towel, or blanket. The support pillow should be just big enough to fill the space in between your low back and the seat.
Regularly stretch your back throughout your trip, don't worry, it's easy! Not sure which stretches to do? Feel free to contact our back pain specialist beforehand, they can provide you with several exercises to complete while you are away in order to reduce your chances of experiencing low back pain while on vacation. You can perform the exercises our back pain specialist recommends to use while you are sitting or waiting in line for an extended period of time.
👉🏽 If you don't get a chance to speak with one of our spine specialists before your trip, just try this exercise 1x10 every other hour:
It is also important to regularly stand up every 20 to 30 minutes and walk around. While standing, of course, pay attention to your posture at all times!
During your trip, of course, always attempt to avoid lifting heavy objects, BUT DEFINITELY don't lift something heavy AND and pivot at the same time. This is the kiss of death for low back pain and sciatica sufferers!
Pro Tip 👌🏾: Our back pain specialist says if you cannot avoid lifting a heavy object, here is the proper way:
If your positioning looks somewhat like this, then you are at high risk for injury!
As your trip comes to an end and it is time to start lifting that luggage again... Perform the exercises you have been given immediately prior to and after and lifting. This is important because, after sitting or inactivity, lifting something suddenly can cause back pain or sciatica. Once you get to an area where you can lie flat on your stomach, we always recommend placing a pillow under your chest and staying there for a couple of minutes. Doing this will counteract any pressure from sitting, protecting you from building or herniated discs. If you already know that ice relieves your back pain, be sure to pack up a plastic bag for a homemade ice pack!
Being cautious throughout your trip can prevent you from dealing with any back pain that can really put a damper on it. Even more important, get your back in the best shape possible leading up to your trip, don't leave back pain up to chance!
Thank you for reading and travel safely! Feel free to take a look around our website, there is plenty of information, free guides, and ways to reach out to us if you are looking for additional physical therapy advice.
Pack lightly! (make some room for a support pillow)
Perform your low back exercises every other hour (and before/after lifting luggage)
Avoid lifting heavy items (but if you have to, use the form shown above)
Lay flat on your stomach whenever you can
Be cautious throughout your entire trip
👉🏽👉🏽If you are experiencing any back pain due to traveling (or something else) and want answers NOW, I recommend a Free 30-Min Discovery Session (virtual or in-person). Our back pain specialist will listen to your concerns and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you have. You will receive all the information you need from a physical therapist to make the BEST decision for YOUR health.
👍🏽 It is a no-obligation, no forms to sign, no credit card required, totally free consultation. This can be done Virtually or In Our Clinic in, Wyckoff, New Jersey...
If you have further questions regarding this blog post or other tips that can help you Contact Us at Skyline Physical Therapy located in Wyckoff, NJ. or Call (201) 485-6114