How to travel without pain

2022/08/26 Home Education and advice

How to travel without pain
Daniel Abrego Lemus Daniel Abrego Lemus Physiotherapist

During the summer period, many of us will go on vacation by making long journeys by various means: the plane, the train, the car. However, for many these long trips can be sources of anxiety for the pain they can cause.

Indeed, these static positions promote mechanical stress on different joints, musculature and blood circulation is not optimal. To try to avoid these pains, here are some tips that you could use during your travels to reduce these risks.

Don’t forget to move

The first tip, which is easier said than done, is to get moving. As a result of changing positions or taking a quick stroll, moving would allow the mechanical stress to be distributed on different structures to those that support the stress in prolonged static positions. Make stops on your car trip to buy food (avoiding the drive-thru) or stop for a bathroom break. It is recommended to make stops at least every 2 hours. On the plane, get up from your seat or try to walk down the aisle when permitted to go to the bathroom to stretch your legs.


Stretch often

Stretch your joints to disperse mechanical stress and avoid overload. For the cervical region, you could make gentle movements in each direction (forward, backward, sideways and rotations) and hold the position for 15-30 seconds and repeat the sequence three times. For the lumbar region, you could do pelvic tilts which imply taking your lower back off the seat and pressing it back to it again and holding it again for a few seconds. Perform rotations of the trunk by turning the shoulders on each side. For the legs, you could rotate the ankles for 20 reps clockwise and anti-clockwise which would promote circulation.

Think about your posture


When you are seated, remember to sit in an ergonomic position. Make sure your lower back is supported and your buttocks are deep in the seat. Avoid crossing your legs or tucking your legs under the seat. Take the time to adjust your car seat, keeping it upright. It can be tempting to watch shows on your iPad or mobile device while in the car or on the train. Simply remember to straighten your head from time to time to avoid aches.  Planes are even now equipped with mobile device support to keep the screen in front of your eyes and not down on your thighs.

Be equipped

You can also get bring some supportive equipment that could help you make your trip more enjoyable. You could equip yourself with a lumbar roll and a C-shaped neck pillow.  These supports will give you additional comfort and help keep you in proper ergonomic positions throughout your trip.  In addition, you could get compression stockings to promote your blood circulation and thus reduce swelling that could be caused by your journey.

Have a safe vacation

No matter how you decide to travel this summer, preparing for your trip will allow you to avoid pain and thus make the most of your vacation. Although it may be difficult to move, stretch or keep good posture while on the plane, on the train or in the car, changing your position and avoiding being static will keep the body’s joints and muscles less stiff, and keep blood flowing in the limbs.  If, on the other hand, you ever feel pains when you return from vacation that do not seem to go away, contact our clinic so that one of our therapists can take care of you. With that, have a happy and safe trip!

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