Traveling Without Your Physiotherapist

airplane travel tips

Commonly we receive calls for assistance from folks who have “put their back out” just hours from leaving for a sunny destination. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time and is not a great start to a trip you have been waiting months to enjoy.

Luckily, your physiotherapist is well aware of the many pitfalls of vacation travel and can guide you so that you get the maximum enjoyment from your time away from the stresses of work and the cold of our Canadian winter.

Your successful trip starts a couple of months ahead of time with the primary goal of being organized so that the stresses of last minute packing and loss of sleep don’t coalesce to form a state of muscular tension throughout your body. In that state, you are ripe for a wry neck or a ‘locked back’ from an errant move or lift.

Avoiding the pre-flight pitfall of back strain, the next hurdle to overcome is handling of the luggage. Don’t over pack making your luggage difficult to carry, but choose to pack light. You can always enjoy some fun vacation shopping if you are short an item or two. Another great tip to spare your back and save energy is to use luggage that has multi-directional spinner wheels. Nothing is worse than struggling with your cumbersome luggage as you trek to the most remote gate of the airport terminal.

Your travel day is long, and most of it is spent sitting in the car, bus, airport and airplane. Spare the discs in your low back and also prevent neck strain by taking standing and walking opportunities when you can. The forces on your discs are cumulative – you can avoid a holiday of back and sciatic pain by minimizing your sitting and by optimizing your sitting with lumbar support whenever possible.

You have made it successfully onto the airplane, and you can relax as your destination finally seems within reach. A couple more wise choices and you are home free and ready to vacation. You have remembered to bring your neck support so when you nod off two hours into your flight your head doesn’t end up falling forward on your chest or off to the side on your neighbour’s shoulder. This simple comfort device can prevent a booming headache and several days of a tight and painful neck.

Last but not least, remember to move while on your flight. Frequent ankle pumping and walking the aisle goes a long way to prevent a clot in your leg. Your lumbar spinal discs will also be happy for the relief that a walk down the aisle offers them.

You can’t always travel with your therapist, but with these helpful tips from your friends at Best Health Physiotherapy, you won’t need to. Happy travels!