Travel is stunning, exciting, and exhilarating. It can also be a pain in the neck. Literally. John Steinbeck once said that “A journey is like a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless…we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
Whether for business or pleasure, with coworkers, family, or friends, there are a few simple tricks that’ll make sure you get to your destination with minimal aches. Well, physical aches, that is. There’s not much you can do about lost luggage, shifting time zones, scratchy hotel sheets, sunburns, or forgotten phone chargers.
And if the rigors of the road leave you creaky, schedule a visit to Dr. Chani Henderson at Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic. Her skill, knowledge, and experience will have you on your feet again in no time.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers some ideas for making your journey much easier. A few minutes, some simple stretches, and knowing what to look for mean you’ll arrive ready to hit the ground running. “Treat travel like an athletic event. Warm-up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.”
When in a car, whether as passenger or driver, there are some easy ways to stay limber. Behind the wheel, the ACA suggests you “Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.”
They also warn against tightly gripping the steering wheel. “Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists, and hands…To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock, periodically switching to 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock.”
Even those just along for the ride can participate in leg exercises and everyone can benefit from back and lumbar support cushions. But the easiest remedy—especially for those of us with small bladders and empty stomachs—is to “Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.”
Air travel, however, has its own unique challenges. Airline seats offer restricted legroom and overall mobility is limited. Try to stretch well before boarding and follow the ACA’s helpful guidelines. “Check all bags heavier than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags, stand right in front of the overhead compartment so the spine is not rotated. Do not lift your bags over your head or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.”
Once seated, “vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down. Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under your seat.” And, though it may seem counterintuitive, “Do not sit directly under the air controls. A draft can increase tension in neck and shoulder muscles.”
For kids, make sure an appropriate car seat is used when driving or flying. Many airlines will check the seat at the gate without extra baggage fees, but always verify in advance. Secure seats according to manufacturer guidelines and it’ll help keep little ones safe until arrival.
Before, during, or after your adventures, Dr. Henderson can address sports injury or auto accidents, pregnancy stiffness, and general chiropractic needs. Her initial consultation covers health conditions and concerns and what you hope to achieve. Afterwards, she may arrange an examination to look at range of motion, mobility, and other issues before deciding what course of treatment is best.
Travel provides invaluable insight into new places, cultures, foods, and ways of life. Even short trips are an amazing time to refresh, rest, and rejuvenate. Don’t avoid exploring, miss out, or pass up new opportunities because of lingering aches and pains. Let Dr. Henderson and her team keep you moving wherever life may take you.
Book your consultation today by calling (360) 254-0400 or check out the website for more information!