6 Summer Travel Tips to Protect Your Back

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With the warm weather finally here, you may be dreaming of dipping your toes in the ocean waves or roaming the streets of a new city. The last thing you want is to be stuck in bed with back pain on your trip. Luckily, we have compiled a summer travel guide to protect your back while you travel.

Check out our tips here:

Bring a lumbar support pillow: Whether it is a plane, train or automobile, you will want to make sure you have enough support for your spine for those long rides. If you don’t have a lumbar pillow, you can make your own out of a rolled-up towel or blanket.

While supporting the spine is a great way to avoid and beat back pain, proper walking shoes are also crucial for on-the-go comfort. When walking miles per day, remember to prioritize function over fashion. Shoes that lack the proper support can add pressure to your spine. 

Be careful lifting luggage and carrying your bags: In the great suitcase Olympics, form is essential. Always bend at your knees when lifting luggage, not at your back. Avoid twisting your body when lifting heavy objects. For shoulder bags, be sure to switch the sides often to prevent repetitive leaning on one side. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when something is too heavy for you to lift alone!

If you do experience an injury after loading suitcases into overhead bins and car trunks, have the proper tools ready to relieve pain. Alternating between heat and ice will warm-up the muscles and increase blood flow. Over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, can also help reduce inflammation and get you back on your feet.

Take time to move, stretch and change positions: Moving helps to circulate our blood, keep our muscles warm and prevent stiffness. In the hours spent sitting in cars or planes, it is essential to find ways to move the body. For long car rides, take frequent stops to walk and stretch the back and leg muscles. For plane rides, aim to get out and walk up and down the aisle every 30 minutes to an hour. Stretching can also be a great way to relax muscles and reduce stress. Additionally, stretching promotes blood circulation to the brain which can increase your mood. 

Don’t forget to rest: Sometimes the opposite is true on vacations – we are so busy walking through an amusement park or touring a new city that we forget to take a break. Taking a break to sit or do some deep stretches of the neck and back muscles will help to keep you feeling good for the duration of your trip. 

Sightseeing, new food, and exploring new locations are some of the best parts of vacation. But, your body still needs time to rest to keep up with a full schedule – including a good night’s sleep. If you are dealing with an uncomfortable mattress at a hotel or in a guest bedroom, try using a rolled-up towel or blanket to support your low back, and a pillow between the knees to keep the spine in a neutral position. 

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water while on vacation is not only important for keeping your body temperature down during the heat, but is an important part of spine health. The cartilage that makes up the spinal discs and joints are 80% water, so staying well-hydrated helps to cushion and protect your spine. Packing a refillable water bottle, or having multiple cups of water at every meal will play a big role in fighting back pain. 

A pillar of summer vacation is eating good food. However, too much of a good thing can be a bad time, as some foods – such as hamburgers and french fries – can cause inflammation. Balancing your favorite summer meals with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies will keep you and your spine healthy.

Go swimming: If you have access to a pool at home or on a trip, grab your suit and jump in! 

Swimming is a great exercise for the back. Since the buoyancy of the water makes you nearly weightless, you don’t put pressure on your spine or joints. 

Many popular vacation spots also offer workout classes for beginners, may it be at a hotel or in a popular park. Yoga, spin class, or water aerobics can all be great ways to spend time with friends, while sneaking in a spine-friendly workout.

Check out the guide here: