How to Avoid a Sore Back on Long Trips
It’s Christmas time which often means bundling up the family for a road trip, getting back into favourites of “eye spy” or “are we there yet???” Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be jetting off somewhere around the globe for an exciting New Year’s Eve adventure? Whatever your travels may be (even if it’s just to the fridge for a second slice of Chrissie Cake), we’ve got you and your back covered.
Do you know what happens to your body on a long-haul flight or car ride? No? Well lucky for you, we will tell you.
Lower oxygen levels on plane flights can cause headaches!!
Aside from the general headache of the kids fighting over who gets the window seat, did you know that the standard airplane cabin has a lower level of oxygen than you would normally breathe at sea level? But before you dramatically reach for the emergency oxygen mask, this is normal for planes. You can liken it to sitting a foot a 6000 to 8000 ft mountain for hours on end!
Try to avoid alcohol as it can interfere with your cells ability to absorb oxygen. If this is way too much to ask (we get it!) make sure you are drinking plenty of water. This also goes for those of you that are in a hot car for hours on end!! The drinking water part anyway because you SHOULD NOT be drinking and driving.
Your circulation isn’t so great on long car or plane rides.
This one isn’t rocket science, the longer you sit, the slower your circulation. Long haul flights can put you at risk of swelling (blood pooling in your veins) and blood clots. Have you ever noticed how tight your shoes feel after a long flight or notice how some people even take their rings off?
It’s simple, get up and walk down the aisle every 30 minutes if you are on a plane. If you’re driving, it’s a great excuse to stop the car at one of those road house bakeries that always manage to make the best vanilla slice. You can also try a few stretches to further improve your circulation.
Some common plane stretches are:
– Sitting down, lift both of your feet off the floor and rotate them in circles
– Keep your heels on the floor and point your toes up as far as you can
– Keeping your shoulders relaxed, drop your ear towards your shoulder, then gently roll your head from side to side
– Shoulder rolls and shrugs
– Standing up, rise to the balls of your feet and back down, repeat.
If you are on a road trip, when you are on a pit stop get as much movement as possible and ask your health practitioner for some stretches to suit your condition.
Your muscles shorten and spasm and your spine becomes compressed.
Due to lengthy periods of sitting in uncomfortable chairs, dehydration, and sleeping in awkward postures, some of the muscles with significant impact on our spinal function tighten up. As a result we are vulnerable to back injuries at the end of the journey.
As mentioned already, stay mobile, hydrated and posture aware throughout the journey.
Every time you stand up, reach your arms to the sky, take 3 deep long breaths and lengthen your spine.
Finally, make sure you prepare for a long car or plane trip by booking an appointment with your Chiropractor for adjustments to help align your spine or your Occupational Therapist to help alleviate your muscles before the flight/car trip.
If you’re looking for a Chiropractor or Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist in Perth we’d be happy to book you in! Just give our clinic a call on PH: 08 9382 3466
Office Location: 1/36 Salvado Rd Wembley, WA 6014 Australia