These last few weeks, I slept in 4 different beds. And one wasn’t even a bed; it was the floor. My back hurt from sleeping on uneven mattresses, from trying to lift my much-too-heavy luggage, and from sitting in a car for far too long. Summer should be a time free of stress and pain when you escape your desk, hold your little nieces and nephews, go ziplining over a beach, or roast some s’mores over the fire you built yourself. But it seems like some of our relatives don’t have as good of beds as we do. And Mother Earth isn’t as comfortable as your own mother. The truth is, your relative’s bed might be good for your back, but it takes your back 30 to 90 days to get used to a new mattress. And travelling for long periods of time isn’t actually a vacation for your back—it’s more like a prison. So what can you do for your back if you’re like me and sleep in a new place every night during the summer?
Here are some tricks that can help with back pain while you travel this summer:
Use pillows to your advantage.
Some sleeping positions put extra pressure on your lower back. Even lying on your back with straight legs can make your lower back feel tight. If you like sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knees. If you like sleeping on your side, put a pillow between your knees. If you like sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow below your lower abdomen. Doing these things will keep your spine straight while you sleep and will keep your back muscles loose and relaxed.
Move carefully and pack lightly.
When you get out of bed each morning whether at a nice resort or at your aunt’s house, lift your body slowly with your hands and slide to the edge of the bed. If your back is tight, this will prevent you from harming it further. Even carrying around heavy luggage can be a strain on your back, so try to pack light items, making lifting luggage onto the overhead storage on the plane a breeze. Lighter luggage makes for a happier back.
Pick luggage that is easy to lug around.
Invest in luggage that rolls around so you don’t have to lift anything at all. Or use a backpack rather than a side bag so that the weight is evenly distributed on both shoulders, keeping your spine straight.
Make room for back accessories in your luggage.
If your back pain often limits the activities you can do, make your back a priority. Bring cooling or heating pads, lumbar pillows, or seat cushions to help support your back on the trip. Chirp has a lot of easy-to-pack back and neck support items, such as items in our neck collection, upper back collection, or lower back collection. We can have them sent to wherever you are this summer.
Get up and move.
Whether you are flying or driving to your vacation, take the time to get up and move. Mobility will help loosen your muscles, providing relief from the pain.
I know you’re on vacation, but exercise can help reduce your back pain dramatically. Learn stretches and exercises specifically for your back pain. If you have muscle strain, the first few days of rest can help, but after that, you’ll want to strengthen your muscles again so that they can heal faster.
Stay Calm.When you’re stressed, your muscles tighten causing your back pain. If you’re late for your flight, you’re short on money, or your boyfriend broke up with you, this stress can cause you physical pain. Your nervous system will keep your body in a state of alert, which is what will keep your muscles tense. Because stress is bad for your muscles, when you travel, try to arrive to your activities early. At an airport, give yourself plenty of time before your flight to get through security. If you do happen to be late, try to relax. Take a deep breath, imagine you’re sitting on the beach, tell yourself that everything will be okay. Life goes on.