The holidays are when many of us crisscross the country on serious road trips – and all that traveling can be a pain in the back.
The biggest problem comes from sitting – in the car, on the plane, on the couch – and the ways in which it taxes your low back. How?
- By putting enormous pressure on your spine;
- By weakening your core muscles;
- By putting you at increased risk of herniated disc; and
- By putting you at higher risk of strains to your back and neck.
Since cancelling your holiday plans is likely out of the question, we suggest incorporating a few quick stretches during each hour you travel to offset potential back problems.
Try these stretches at the airport before you board the plane – and while seated on the flight – to help loosen up back muscles and stretch out your spine.
If you’re on a long road trip, be sure to pepper in intermittent rest stops – more often than you might otherwise – and use these stretches to ease your pain:
- 1 – SIDE STRETCH
- This one is great for stretching the spine and for loosening up muscles that tend to tense during long stretches sitting. Be sure to take deep breaths while doing this to truly enjoy the benefits of the stretch.
- 2 – BACK BEND
- This back bend is not just easy; it may help ease bulging or herniated discs back into place. Be sure that when you do this you rest your hands on your low back for support, and avoid overextending backward.
- 3 – SEATED TWIST
- If you’re on a plane, you can do this one without getting up. Be sure to breathe into the twist. This one is also great for rest stops while road tripping.
- 4 – SHOULDER STRETCH
- Pull your shoulders back gently and open your chest, then clasp your arms behind your back and interlock your fingers. Pull your arms up slowly and gently behind you while making sure to breathe.
- 5 – NECK STRETCH
- We often think of our lower backs as bearing the brunt of so much sitting, but one of the worst parts of sitting for long periods is the pressure it exerts on the cervical spine. Reduce it by periodically stretching your neck muscles from all angles.
- 6 – WALK
- While this is not an overt stretch, taking a short stroll is one of the best ways to get things flowing in your back.
If tons of holiday travel has made your existing back problems worse, contact us online or give us a call and we will be happy to help.