Car and air travel

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Inevitably, we all find ourselves traveling either by car and plane to an intended destination. Depending on the length or duration of your trip, a change in your daily routine can potentially put a hitch in your giddy up. The following are some tips you can utilize when traveling.

Air travel:
Compression socks are a must for me regardless of the duration of my flight. These keep my legs feeling fresh and energetic and reduce any swelling that I might incur on my flight. I bring a lot of my own food as airport food and airplane food is loaded with salt and a multitude of additives causing inflammation which can affect your legs and bowels.

I buy a liter of water for a long-haul flight plus bring my own stainless steel water bottle and fill it before the flight. Most airports now have filtered water stations for filling your own bottles. (This helps reduce the use of plastics too!) Drink as much water as you can on the flight and avoid alcohol. This will keep you hydrated and make you get up and go to the bathroom which is what you want to do while on a flight. MOVE and STRETCH.

Bringing your own pillow, neck support or a jacket to support your head or lower back are helpful as well. Using luggage that is ergonomic and easy to transport is also important to cut down on stress of carrying a heavy load on your shoulders and arms as well as hefting into an overhead compartment.

If you have a decent layover, walk as much as you can and if you have to change gates with connections, walk from gate to gate instead of using the automated people mover.

Car travel:

When driving either around town or for long periods, I turn on my seat heater regardless of the time of year. Most golfers or tennis players know this trick but I encourage everyone to do this as if you are going to play sports, it will help warm up the lower back and body and if you are driving a long distance, it will ease lower back stiffness from prolonged sitting.

Again, hydration is a key as it will cause you to stop and get out of your car to relieve yourself as well as give your body a chance to walk and stretch. Making sure your seat is set at the proper height and depth is extremely important as well as engaging your lumbar support if that’s available to you.

When you are purchasing your vehicle make sure the seat is adaptable to your body height as seats are pretty standard. You are making a long-term expensive purchase and your body should be comfortable in the seat that you will be spending a lot of time in. Also, your physical challenges will dictate whether you’re in the market for a car or SUV.

I have patients who have bought sports cars that are lower to the ground that can be challenging to get in and out of especially if they have a lower back flare-up. If you are on the shorter side, buying an SUV may be harder to get into, but you will also be able to see better when driving as you will be up higher. So, have an awareness of your body type and physical limitations when comparing vehicles for purchase.

Getting adjusted before and after your trips can help deter some of challenges of travel, make it pain free and allow you to enjoy your trip instead of suffering from neck and back discomfort and putting a damper on your holiday.


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