For many families, a road trip is an essential part of any summer vacation. Unfortunately, muscle and joint pain doesn’t take days off, and can quickly turn this joyful time into a painful one. Whether you’re lifting heavy luggage or simply sitting in the car for extended periods of time, it’s very common to experience back, neck, shoulder and other joint pain at some point during your travels. Since having fun should be your highest priority, its important to maximize your enjoyment by ensuring that you’re being as safe as you can be.
Did you know?
Sitting for long periods of time can be very harmful to your body. Even in the most comfortable cars, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow.
To increase your chances of a pain free trip:
- Choose the right luggage: Choosing a bag with wheels and a handle goes a long way to lighten your load. Alternatively, quality backpacks are a good option as they distribute weight more evenly than other types of luggage.
- Get comfortable: Seat adjustment is critical for avoiding pain on the road. Make sure to adjust the seat to fit you comfortably. If necessary, roll up a towel or pillow and place it between your lower back and the seat for more support.
- Bring ice: Bring a cooler filled with ice packs to help relieve pain on the road. If you need to ice your back, limit it to 15 minutes at a time.
- Make frequent pit stops: This gives everyone a chance to stretch and change out of a seated position for a short period of time. Each stop also provides an opportunity to refresh and reduce tension that has been building up in your body.
How to lift your luggage properly:
- Break the action up: When loading a suitcase into a car or truck, try lifting it onto a chair or step-stool first, rather than doing it all in one motion
- Use your legs: When lifting your luggage, first get close to the load and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart Bend at the knees and let your leg muscles do the lifting, rather than your back
- Avoid twisting: Instead, turn your feet in the direction you are headed and turn your entire body in that direction.