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How to Prevent Back Pain from Ruining a Vacation


September 15th, 2023

So, I just had a new client that recently came back from the Bahamas, and it turned out the flight ruined her vacation completely. So today I figured it would be best to cover simple tricks anyone can use to keep their back strong while dealing with these long travels.

Often folk’s come into my practice with back pain or even that crippling sciatic pain from sitting. Not just sitting here and there, but just years of prolonged sitting in the office, driving lawnmowers, hours of commuting, etc. But here and their we do get cases where folks are in an airplane and they develop a back ache that can cripple them. Not just that, but after saving all their funds up and day dreaming for weeks about how nice it will be to relax on the beach with their family… it’s all ruined. Back pain can and has gotten in the way of many vacations. But no worries, today I can help you avoid this awful scenario.

This first tip I would give anyone thinking about going on a plane is to schedule your flight carefully. What I mean by this is to pick the most direct flight. This may seem simple, but by doing this your reducing the flight time and in turn reduce the sitting time. Sitting stress is a very common culprit of sciatic pain. Along with this, by planning correctly you can avoid having to lift items into the overhead compartment as much. The more frequently you do this activity your more prone to a back injury. This is due to the fact that the lower back can easily be twisted and/or bent with a load while doing this.

The second tip would be to choose your seat carefully. The best seat in the airplane is the isle seat. This is because it allows you to easily get up during the flight. Frequently getting up maybe once every 30 minutes or every hour on an extremely long flight can off put the loading stress of sitting. Its also important to avoid neck/shoulder pain as well. In the aisle seat your more able to rotate the head/move the chin back during the flight every 30 minutes or so. This works on the same principal as above.

My last tip would be to pack light. This pertains to the above tip about reaching into the overhead compartment. The larger the load the more likely you are to hurt your back. So, if you are at all worried about that scenario its best to check that luggage in prior to the flight or simply carry only what’s absolutely necessary for the trip.

Also, if you’re carrying a purse or some sort of baggy it’s a good idea to alternate the shoulders that you place this on while in the airport. This can reduce the stress to the spine and shoulders.

That should definitely help anyone better enjoy their vacation by taking out a few of the risk factors for back pain. That’s it for today, remember movement is medicine!

P.S. If you’re having some back troubles and you need some "pre-vacation" help check out our blog at montrossphysicaltherapy.com to get some more info. Or call us at (804) 493-3256 to set up your 100% free phone consultation to get even more help!