by Sean Burton
Travel can be stressful for anyone, but it is extra stressful for those with chronic back pain. Whether by car, bus, train or plane, prolonged sitting is the hallmark of long-distance travel. For people with back pain, this often means increased pain.
There are steps travelers can take to reduce the negative impacts that travel has on their backs. Consider the following list of tips to bring the merry back into this holiday season.
Find Ways To Move: Inactivity leads to stiff muscles and joints. Motion is needed to get blood pumping through your tissues. Those who drive their own vehicle while traveling have the advantage of being able to take several breaks to stretch and move around. People using trains and buses are more limited, but can take advantage of stops. Plane travelers find themselves at the most disadvantage in this area.
It may feel odd, but it is possible to stretch while on a plane. Be courteous of fellow passengers and flight staff. You can ask staff if you may walk up and down the aisle between snack services, and ask your seat neighbor if he or she minds if you do some light stretching. Seat stretches are non-invasive by nature, so it is unlikely anyone would object. See the link at the bottom of this page for examples of stretches to do on a plane.
Make Use of Seating Aides: No matter what kind of dreadful seat you’re given, you can make use of inexpensive ergonomic seating aides to maximize comfort. Foot rests are handy for people who won’t have the option to adjust seat height. Dangling feet leave the job of supporting the legs to the lower back, pelvis and thighs, causing strain on muscles and joints.
Lumbar support cushions are available for people who have a hard time maintaining their lumbar curve while sitting. This is a common problem, especially for people with weak cores. The cushion will help to maintain natural spinal curvature, which takes pressure off of muscles and discs.
Cushions can be of great assistance to people with sciatica. Sitting can exacerbate sciatica pain because it causes further compression of the nerve. A cushion can limit the pressure placed on the buttocks.
Sitting Posture: Proper posture is important for everyone, but is of key importance to people traveling with disc-related back pain like sciatica. While lumbar cushions and foot rests may be enough to relieve back pain for some people, those with sciatica should consider another seat feature: reclining.
A study by Canadian and Scottish researchers assessed the MRI results of the effects various sitting angles have on spinal discs. A 135 degree angle between the thighs and the upper body was found to place the least amount of stress on the discs of the spine. Sciatica and other nerve problems are often caused by disc herniation and bulging, therefore reclining slightly backward is optimal. This may not be possible while driving your own vehicle; if you have a fellow passenger, switch on and off and recline in the passenger’s seat. Note: While reclining, it is important to avoid craning your neck forward. A neck cushion could help you to maintain your natural cervical spine curve.
Exercises: Here are some stretches that can comfort your journey
Take the doom and gloom out of holiday travel this season by getting educated on the ways in which you can alleviate back pain during your trip. Attention to your bodily needs and a little help from ergonomics may be all you need to travel comfortably.
Article Source: EzineArticles