Holiday Travel Tips for Your Back

A family double checks their passports before an international flight.
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With the holidays come many hours of commuting and strains from heavy-lifting. Be mindful of your spine this season, before your trip turns into a pain in the neck.

Handling Luggage

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. There’s never a convenient time to strain your spine, so load luggage in steps, by resting it on a stool before packing it into the trunk.

Here are a few other pointers for handling luggage:

Use your feet to pivot, without twisting your torso while lifting.

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.

When handling one bag, swap sides as to not strain one side

Plane Pain

Airplane flights are not known for their comfort or spaciousness. We suggest that you bring small pillows for neck and lumbar support, stand up to stretch at least once every two hours, and book an aisle seat for the extra legroom. Also, don’t be afraid to tilt your seat back! 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

We’ve all been there. 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, and lean back when possible for a more comfortable angle.

So next time you see commuters laying on their backs in the airport or periodically performing yoga in the back of the plane, bear in mind these tips for healthy holiday travels. Consider it your gift to your spine. Happy Holidays!

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