As the holiday season approaches, many of you might travel to visit family out of town. While a vacation often provides relaxation and stress reduction, we can’t always say the same for the actual trip to get there. Making matters worse, travel provides some ideal opportunities to hurt your back, and spend the rest of your trip in discomfort or pain.

Follow these tips when you travel, and you can reduce the chances of an injury or misalignment problem.

Pack light. Remember that you will be lugging your suitcase through airports, in and out of the car, and through hotels. The heavier the suitcase, the more likely you are to strain your back while lifting it.

Some airports offer curb-side check-in, mobility assistance, and other options that can help make travel a bit more convenient. Call ahead, explain your needs, and inquire about services.

Some people even head to the post office a few days before their trip, and ship their luggage to their vacation destination! It’s unorthodox, but it works.

Use proper posture when lifting luggage. Even light luggage can become a major pain after a day of travel. Avoid bending at the waist or twisting your spine to lift a suitcase. Bend at the knees instead, and use your core strength and legs rather than your back when lifting.

Avoid carrying luggage on one side of your body, and consider a rolling suitcase rather than one that must be carried.

Use smart sitting posture. Whether driving or flying, sitting for long periods can lead to stiffness and back pain later. Sit with both feet flat on the floor, with your lumbar spine supported. Your headrest should meet the middle-back of your head, and not push your head forward.

If you carry a wallet, remember not to sit on it, as this throws your hips out of alignment. Stow it in a front pocket or your carry-on bag instead.

Finally, take breaks every so often and get up to walk around. Once per hour is ideal.

If you do return from a trip feeling stiff and sore, give us a call. We can identify the problem and perform gentle chiropractic adjustments, so that you can feel like yourself again.