Northwest Wellness's Blog

Useful information for a healthy lifestyle.

Looking for a specific blog topic?  Search here:

Avoiding Back Pain while Traveling

The holidays are among us, and for many people suffering neck or back pain can make traveling a stressful event. The seats in airplanes, cars, and trains are not the most comfortable, making prolonged sitting in them very painful. The following are some tips to help avoid back pain while traveling.

·         Avoid bending and twisting when lifting heavy luggage. Bend at your knees and use your leg muscles instead of bending at your waist and using your back muscles. It is also important to carry heavy items as close to the body as possible and distribute the weight evenly on each side of your body.

·         Adding a lumbar support can be helpful since the seats in planes, cars, and trains do not offer the best support. If you don’t have a lumbar support pillow, you can always roll up a jacket, sweater, airplane pillow and place it behind your lower back.

·         Make sure your feet are also properly supported during your travel. If your feet are unable to be placed on a firm surface due to your seat being too high, try resting your feet on a footrest. The goal is keep your knees at a right angle to avoid stressing the lower back.

·         Avoid packing a heavy suitcase. A heavy suitcase can strain the muscle of the lower back.

·         Be aware of your posture while sitting for long periods of time. Avoid hunching and make sure that your shoulders are straight. Make sure your back is aligned against the back of your seat and that your headrest is supporting the middle of your head. Both feet should be resting firmly on the floor or footrest.

·         Your spine is designed to move and sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time tightens the back muscles, which adds stress to the spine. If possible, get up and stretch every two hours. Movement stimulates blood flow and brings important nutrients and oxygen to the back. This will help prevent the muscles and the spine from getting to stiff and achy from prolonged sitting. Movement also helps prevent blood clots from forming the legs.

·         Prolonged sitting also causes tension in the hamstrings and hip flexor muscles. This adds more pressure and stress to the lower back. The following are a couple of good stretches:


Standing Hamstring Stretch with Step

Begin standing upright with your heel placed in front of you on a step and your hands resting on your hips.


Slowly bend forward at your hips until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold this position.


Standing Hip Flexor Stretch on Chair

Begin standing upright with one leg bent and resting on a stable chair behind you.


Engage your abdominal muscles, then slightly shift your weight forward at your hips. You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of the hip of your bent leg.

For further information on chiropractic care contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA  2539270660.