With the holiday season upon us, many of you may be gearing up to go away! For many, this may involve travelling. Unfortunately the commute from home to your destination is often the most dreaded part of the experience. This is made worse if you are suffering from acute or chronic neck or back pain.
Here are 8 tips on helping to reduce the pain whilst travelling and making the experience far more bearable;
- Move around during the flight/journey
Moving around approximately every 30 minutes will help to decrease the compressive forces through the spine and help to prevent muscles from going into spasm. Get up from your seat and simply walking around for 5- 10 minutes. This will help alleviate any strains which may have occurred in the neck or the back whilst being in a seated position.
- Strategically schedule your trip
Book a time where there may be more stopovers or at an undesired time may guarantee more seats vacant. This will allow you to be able to stretch out or lie down. Making contact prior to departure may allow you to be allocated in a row where there are more seats available.
- Pack back and neck support
Make sure to pack postural cushions or pillows depending on the location of your pain. These will help aid your posture and decreased the pressure on either the neck or the low back, making your experience far less painful.
Always make sure you are aware of your posture whilst being seated. This is imperative if you are suffering from neck pain. Any exaggerated side bending or rotation through the neck for a long period of time can put pressure through the spine making your original pain worse.
- Using hot and cold therapy
This is a simple and effective way of reducing inflammation and pain in the neck and the back whilst travelling. Make sure to stock up on “click n heat” heat packs (or any other alternative) and take a zip lock bag on board. Ask the attendant to fill the bag up with use. Use the portable heat pack and the ice interchanging every 5 minutes for 30 mins.
- Taking over the counter pain relief
Taking NSAIDs (Nurofen, Voltaren) or paracetamol on board, as a precaution is necessary in the event that sitting for a long period of time aggravates the pain. Always check with your doctor that these are safe for you to take first and follow the recommended dose requirements.
- Pack a light carryon luggage bag with wheels
Make sure to pack a light carryon luggage bag. This will make it far easier when having to store it in the overhead compartment. In saying this, ask for the assistance of the attendant to lift the bag. The extension motion of lifting the bag may aggravate any neck or back pain that is present. A bag with wheels is also of benefit, this will prevent you from having to lift and carry the bag around the airport.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water at all times during the trip will not only help keep you hydrated it will also help with removal of toxins and inflammatory mediators which may build up in the body during the course of journey.