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Summer Traveling with Back Pain

Summer traveling with back pain.

It’s that time of the year! Summer vacations, long flights, long car rides, and long breaks away from your chiropractor. I thought I’d take some time to share some tips with you on how to maintain your results as well as manage spine issues yourself while you are away.

Tips for long flights.

Proper Neck Support

Proper Neck Support

1) During takeoff and landing, make sure you are sitting up straight, looking forward with your head against the head rest. The rapid acceleration and deceleration can stress your spine.
2) Use a neck roll, this will encourage proper posture.
3) Place the small airline pillow against your lower back during the flight.
4) Get up and move around at least once every 2-3 hours. While you are up, do some active range of motion exercises. These include forward, backward, left/right side bending, and left/right twisting in both your neck and lower back. These movements will take about 1 minute each for neck and lower back.

Tips for long car rides.

1) Use small lower back pillow for long drives.
2) Use the seat heater when possible.
3) Tens units can also help if you have access to them.
4) Never drive more than two hours without taking a break. While you are stopped do some active range of motion exercises. These are forward, backward, left/right side bending, and left/right twisting in both your neck and lower back. These movements will take about 1 minute each for neck and lower back.
5) If you develop tension headaches or pain/tension in your neck or the back of your head, there is an exercise you can do while driving. You will sit up straight, look straight ahead, and press the back of your head into the head rest. Do this at about 40% strength and hold the contraction for 5 seconds. Do this for 10 reps and this will help ease your neck and head tension.

Tips for self-managing back and neck pain when you are on vacations away from your chiropractor.

Stay active even on a Cruise Ship!

Stay active even on a Cruise Ship!

1) Use ice or heat. A good rule of thumb is to use the one that feels better and provides the most relief. Use no more than 20 minutes at a time.
2) If you have a normal exercise regimen, do your best to keep that going even while on vacation. It’s ok if you have to modify it down a bit and just do some light cardio. But going from 4x a week to 10 days with no exercise, can lead to back pain or stiffness.
3) Keep up with your active range of motion spinal exercises. (These are discussed above)
4) Stretch for at least 10 minutes per day. Here is a good link of stretches for the lower back and neck.

Have Fun!

Bottom Line – Have Fun!

I know that going long stretches of time without getting your chiropractic adjustment can be difficult. If you follow these recommendations, your time away will be less likely to include a flare up and more likely to include lots of fun!

Yours in health,

Dr. Ben Fonke, DC

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