Holiday Traveling: 3 Tips to Keep Your Spine Safe

A man wearing a backpack at the airport.
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With the holiday season comes many hours of commuting, shopping, heavy lifting and, for many people, traveling. As the weather turns wintery and the bustling season of cheer draws near, be mindful of extra strain on your spine as you drive and fly.

Wherever your holiday plans take you, keep your spine safe this season with these traveling tips and reminders.

Handling Luggage: Lift With Your Legs

It’s always nice to have a stock of outfit options and all the comforts from home while on the road, but do your best to pack lightly.

If rolling suitcases aren't available, remember to lift slowly with your legs instead of with your back. Load luggage in stages by resting it on a stool before packing it into the trunk.

Remember a few other pointers for handling luggage, like:

  • Bend at the knees, not with your back
  • Carry any heavy luggage close to your body's center of gravity
  • Even out the weight carried on each side of your body
  • Keep your back straight when lifting
  • Use your feet to pivot, without twisting your torso while lifting
  • When handling one bag, swap sides as to not strain one side

Plane Pain: Pack Your Travel Pillows

Flying home for the holidays? Before your flight or in between flights, get some stretching in as a preventative measure since you’ll likely be sitting for hours on end.

Airplane flights are not known for their comfort or spaciousness. To avoid a stiff neck and back, bring small travel pillows for neck and lumbar support. Also, stand up to stretch at least once every two hours, and book an aisle seat for the extra legroom.

Don’t be afraid to tilt your seat back, too. Though falling asleep may seem to be the natural thing to do, oftentimes this does your body more harm when you awake to find sore joints and muscles.

Cramped Cars: Stretching Is Key

Driving home to be with loved ones this holiday season? You may find yourself stuck in a car for hours in the same position, with very little wiggle room.

To avoid the stiff aftermath, stop every hour or so for a five-minute stretch break to keep the blood flowing. Most car seats do not offer ample back support, so rolling up a towel behind your lower back is an easy way to aid posture. Lean back when possible for a more comfortable angle.

Whether you’re flying or driving this holiday season, remember to show your spine a little TLC, too. Lifting luggage with your legs, taking stretching breaks in between flights and packing your travel pillows can be the difference between a strained spine and a pain-free holiday.

Care You Can Count on for the Holidays and Beyond

If you strain your spine before, during or after the holiday season, turn to care you can count on from experts who care about your whole health.

Your team at AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab is here to help you heal what hurts, regain your freedom of movement and lead your best life. Find the kind of expert support you deserve to feel healthy and whole, well before and long after the holiday season.

Learn more about all the different services we offer at AdventHealth Sports Med and Rehab or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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