Summer is here and that means many Phoenicians leave the city to escape the heat. With increased travel time can sometimes mean new aches and pains especially in our back and neck. The seating is uncomfortable, usually cramped, diet and fitness regimens are sacrificed, and unfortunately stress is usually increased. As a “wanna-be” world traveler and full time physical therapist, here are some tips that I have acquired along the way to help keep my body pain free so I can enjoy the fun to be had.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Fatigue, poor digestion, lack of sleep, irritability, and jet lag can all be improved with proper hydration. Your goal for hydration of WATER, sorry beer doesn’t count even if a few novelty t shirts say so, is half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 200 lbs your goal is 100 ounces in water. If you aren’t a numbers person take a peek before you flush and your urine should almost be clear.
Trying To Prevent LBP with Long Car Rides
Living in Arizona we have a lot of great places to visit with a couple hours of drive time. I have had so many patients come home from a short trip to California or even up north with excruciating back pain and stiffness. Two main factors include sitting in one position for an extended period of time, as well as that position not in proper alignment. A reason why we may not be sitting in the best position is due to the vehicles seat not conforming to your spines neutral alignment. A trick that can be helpful is to roll a medium sized towel (smaller than one that can cover your body and larger than a washcloth) and place it horizontally at the curvature of your low back. This tip along with making sure to get out and moving our whole body at rest stops as well as gas stations can help prevent the post travel body-blues.
Neck Pain With Flights
The combination of heavy carry-on bags, cramped seating space, and long hours of looking down at an entertainment device can cause serious neck pain after or even during a flight. To help with some neck stiffness, place a rolled up towel or folded “hot dog” style at the base of your neck, hold the towel lightly at cheek level, look up about 3-5 inches, then make yourself have a double chin. I would repeat 10 times if pain free. If this causes pain move on to the neck technique.
Take the same towel and fold in half “hot-dog” style then roll it into a cinnamon roll like spiral. Lie on a firm surface, and place the towel at the curvature of your neck. For increased stretch, place your fingers lightly on your chin and guide your chin back towards the ground or your spine depending on which makes more sense. This should cause a nice light stretch at the base of your skull.
We hope these tips help you while enjoying time with family and friends!