8 Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Traveling

Summer is the season of vacations, barbecues and…burdensome back pain? Vacation is supposed to be relaxing, but in reality travel can take a big toll on your physical well being.

Think about it from your back’s point of view. First there’s the luggage haul. In the car, out of the car, through the airport and back again. Then there’s the flight. No leg room, comfortable seating, and of course there always seems to be a baby crying somewhere in the back to boot. Once you’ve finally escaped the person on the plane who insisted on reclining their seat all the way back and reached the hotel, you have to deal with a mattress that’s too firm, too soft or too springy. So now you see how all that bending, bustling, hoisting, and hauling can really aggravate an already bent-out-of-shape back.

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled 8 handy travel tips to prevent burdensome back pain and help you enjoy your summer vacation pain free:

  1. Pack Light The less you pack, the less you lift. Packing light will minimize any strain on the back from hauling luggage around.
  2. Lift Less Instead of lifting your luggage yourself, as cab drivers, skycaps, and bellboys to do the heaving hoisting for you. If you must lift, bend at the knees and use your leg muscles for leverage, as bending at the waist will make you more vulnerable to injury.
  3. Distribute Weight EvenlyIf you must lift, distribute the weight evenly on each side of the body. If you’re carrying shoulder, laptop or golf bags alternate sides to avoid placing too much strain on one side of the body.
  4. Use Rolling Luggage Using rolling luggage will minimize strain placed on the back and play a huge role in preventing your pre-existing back pain from flaring up.
  5. Pack a Pillow Hotel pillows are notoriously “Goldie Locks-Like”–too hard, too soft, never just right. Whether you’re boarding a plane or hopping into the family minivan, pack a lumbar support pillow for your lower back. If you don’t have one on hand, improvise by rolling up a comfy sweater and use that instead.
  6. Splurge for Space If not having enough room on a plane is going to cause a problem, it might be worth upgrading to a more spacious seating class. You can also ask to be seated in the emergency exit section of the plane where there is often extra leg room.
  7. Move Frequently To avoid stiff muscles and a stressed spine, move around as much as possible while traveling. Doing a few laps around the airport terminal or getting up and stretching on the plane or at a road trip rest stop is sure to work wonders for your back.
  8. Take It Easy Once you’ve reached your destination, take it easy. After all it is a vacation. Participate in activities you enjoy that also maintain back health. Swimming, walking and yoga are all activities that will benefit you back and make your vacation one to remember.