During the last few months of the year, we travel to go see our families, which often means traveling for long periods of time in bad weather. But going on a long pilgrimage is usually worth it because Grandma’s turkey is just better. This year, to prepare for your trip, remember that back pain usually comes with traveling and take these tips to avoid back pain for this holiday.
1. Plan your travels carefully.
Do you need more breaks from the cramped space inside the plane or car? Plan shorter flights with breaks in between or stop more frequently on the drive home. Or, if you’d rather get it over with, book nonstop flights home. Decide what is best for you and plan accordingly.
2. Take breaks.
Whether you’re on a plane or in a car or on a bus or in a train, try to get up and move every so often. Putting your back in one position for too long causes your muscles to contract and tighten. By standing up or changing positions, you give your back a break, allowing your muscles to relax and refresh.
3. Pack intelligently.
Luggage is a big part of travel because we all love our stuff and want to bring it all with us. But bringing everything you own on your trip to Mom’s house might be bad for your back. Instead, pack the essentials, pack lightly, and bring luggage that is easy to carry. Avoid shoulder bags or bags that don’t roll on the ground. And do pack the things that will help keep you from back pain, like the Chirp Wheel+. The Chirp Wheel+ is even easy to pack away with your clothes, just stuff clothes inside of the wheel! Do the things that will help keep your back pain away because those things are the most important.
4. Bring your favorite pillow.
We all have a pillow that lets us sleep at night, and if you don’t, you should buy one. Whether you’re sleeping at Great Aunt Susan’s house or at a nice hotel, bring the pillow that you love. You can use it to ensure that you get the best sleep for your back. If you sleep on your side, use your pillow to keep your spine straight by putting it between your knees. If you sleep on your back, put your pillow under your knees to take some pressure off of your lower back. If you bring your own pillow, you are safe from having to sleep on the couch, from getting a paper-thin pillow, or from anything else that your family throws at you because you will have come prepared.
5. Try not to stress.
Sometimes I’m not so sure why we insist on going home to family during the happiest times of the year, because sometimes it doesn’t seem to be very happy. Family can cause a lot of stress. And, unfortunately, stress can cause a lot of back pain. When you stress, your muscles tense up, and tense muscles mean more pain. So even if your siblings are being annoying or just stupid, take a deep breath and remember that at least you aren’t the parent and at least you get to go back home soon.