Q: I am always traveling for work and have begun to feel the pains of my traveling so much. I want to avoid problems in the future but I know I am going to be traveling even more as my career “takes off”. What can I do about the problems I am having and how can I minimize them in the future?

A: Air travel can be exhilarating … and it can be frustrating. It also can get downright debilitating. So, from a chiropractic point of view, here are some ways to avoid or alleviate the pitfalls that flying can present:

  • Instead of carrying one huge back-breaking piece of luggage with all your belongings, break it up into two, preferably wheeled, bags.
  • When stowing a carry-on, if you can fit it under the seat, it’s much better. If you put it in an overhead compartment, stand in the aisle, straight and away from the compartment while lifting and positioning. Don’t twist and lift from an uncomfortable position.
  • Before you buckle yourself into your seat, place one of those little pillows or a rolled blanket at the base of your lower back. It will reduce the chance of inflight back pain.
  • Don’t cross your legs on a long air- or car-trip. It will impair circulation, for< one thing, and the leg muscles will shorten. It also will put an uneven strain on your hips and pelvis, which can contribute to lower back pain.
  • Always stretch before during and after your travel. Don’t worry about what people around you think! Tell them to join you in a stretch and make a new friend. Don’t forget to take your stretch bands and other important self care devices with you.
  • Get an adjustment before leaving and upon your return. It couldn’t hurt to have a chiropractor in other towns if you travel to the same places frequently.
  • Wear comfortable and nonrestrictive clothes and shoes.

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