Car, Train Or Plane: How To Avoid Back Pain When Traveling?

In summer, the long-awaited vacations often mean long journeys and, unfortunately, sometimes neck or back pain. Whether you're taking the train, plane or car, if you don't want to start your trip in pain, follow our tips for avoiding back pain while traveling.

Move at every opportunity

No matter which mode of transportation you choose for your trip, the main problem is always the same: you're going to have to stay virtually still in your seat for several hours.

Yet, in the long run, sitting in a confined space has several disadvantages for the traveler:
- it causes postural fatigue
- it can cause pain in the cervical vertebrae
- it promotes stiffness and pain in the back due to increased pressure on the intervertebral discs
- it increases the risk of phlebitis.

For all these reasons, the first tip for avoiding back pain while traveling is to get up and move as soon as the opportunity arises.

If you are traveling by bus, take advantage of regulation breaks to get out of the vehicle and walk. Also in the car, take breaks every 2 hours as recommended by road safety to stretch your legs for at least 15 minutes.

On a train, plane or boat, don't hesitate to get up from your seat to walk the aisles. If you have to stand, for example, to wait your turn in the bathroom, take the opportunity to contract your calves! Get up on your toes for a few seconds and then carry your body weight on your heels.

Adopt a good posture

The second must-have tip for avoiding back pain while traveling is to adopt good posture from the start, whether you are the driver or the passenger in the vehicle.

If you're going on a road trip and you're behind the wheel, adjust your seat for optimal comfort. You should be able to reach the pedals easily (without your leg being too bent or stretched) and have a clear field of vision without needing to turn your head.

Adjust your backrest almost vertically (no more than 20 degrees of inclination) so that it supports your back and avoids contractures. Your back should always be supported by the backrest.

If you are a passenger, sit comfortably and keep your back against the seat back as well. Move your seat back so that you can shake your legs regularly during the ride.

On a plane or train, space is often limited so don't hesitate to tilt your seatback so you can extend your legs. And above all, don't cross your legs to avoid blocking your blood circulation!

To help you find a more comfortable posture during your trip, consider using the armrests if there are any (they will prevent neck and shoulder pain) and equip yourself with comfort accessories such as:
- a lumbar cushion
- an airbag or neck brace to support your neck.
- compression stockings to avoid venous problems and prevent the risk of phlebitis during a long plane trip.

Test a few more tricks

In addition to these common sense tips, you can try a few additional tips to avoid back pain while traveling.

Throughout your trip, remember to really hydrate by drinking water or fruit juice. Good hydration is beneficial for thinning the bloodstream but also for preventing muscle aches and pains the day after your trip.

To travel at your ease, prefer loose, comfortable clothing that doesn't block your blood flow.

If you don't have a stiff neck or back pain before departure, you can also perform some small stretching exercises during the trip.

Sitting upright in your seat, stare at an object in front of you and pull your chin back toward your sternum to lengthen your neck (as if a wire attached to the top of your skull were pulling you up). Grow taller, hold this stretch for 5 seconds, then release.

When flying, choosing a seat at wing level allows you to enjoy better stability during the flight and therefore less strain on your seat.

Finally, even if you are afraid of flying avoid taking sleeping pills during your trip. When you're deeply asleep, you don't change your position in your sleep and you stay in the same posture, even if it's uncomfortable. If you opt for an artificial sleep, chances are you'll suffer from a stiff neck and/or lumbago upon arrival!

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Pxhere
Tags: PAIN, plane, train, stiff neck, sleep, Phlebitis, muscle aches, bloodstream, Thinning, hydration, fruit juice, drinking water, hydrate, common sense, Test, clothing, blood flow, lumbago, sleeping pills, strain, wing, skull, Wire, Sternum, Chin, object, venous, compression stockings, neck compression, calves, road safety, bus, intervertebral discs, pressure, stiffness, Cervical vertebrae, fatigue, confined space, body weight, heels, road trip, neck brace, airbag, Lumbar, shoulder pain, blood circulation, Ride On, contractures, inclination, wheel,
In French: Voiture, train ou avion : comment éviter le mal de dos en voyage ?
En español: Coche, tren o avión: ¿cómo evitar el dolor de espalda al viajar?
In italiano: Auto, treno o aereo: come evitare il mal di schiena quando si viaggia?
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