back pain

Don’t let car and plane seats cause back pain during holiday travel

by Sports Therapy And Rehabilitation, December 19, 2016

In our last blog, we explained how certain postures can lead to increased back pain. But there’s another culprit that can cause problems this time of year as well: traveling.

If you don’t have to do any traveling this holiday season, count yourself lucky. For most of us, this time of year means hitting the road or hopping on a plane to visit loved ones.

As a result, being in a confined space and sitting for long periods of time can aggravate your back or neck. The reason is that airplane and car seats are usually designed for the average back curve, but many people have variations with flat backs or excessively curved backs. Sitting in these seats for too long then causes the spine to get overstrained and often results in pain.

Even though these seats may not be ideal for your spine, there are several steps you can take in the car or on the plane. Doing so will reduce your chances of experiencing neck and back pain, so you can focus on enjoying the holidays. We recommend the following:

  • Stretch your entire body—especially your back—before leaving
  • Be sure your lower back is placed against the back of the seat and that the headrest is supporting the middle of your head
  • Avoid hunching forward; keep both feet on the ground
  • Stand up and move around at least once every 30 minutes; if there’s enough space, do some stretching while standing; if not, do some basic seated stretches
  • Pack lightly, check heavy bags and avoid overhead lifting of heavy luggage
  • When driving in a car, follow the same seating tips as above; also make sure you’re as close to the wheel as possible to avoid a hunched reaching posture
  • Take quick stops every 45 minutes to stretch; trade off driving duties often

Traveling already comes with its own set of inconveniences as it is, so don’t let back pain make your problems any worse. For additional travel tips or to schedule an appointment for any other issues, contact Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation in Washington, DC at 202-223-1737 or e-mail Click here for more information.

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