If you’re headed out for a vacation this summer, the last thing you want is a back injury that sidelines you throughout your trip. But back injuries can and do occur when you’re engaging in activities that are outside your norm. Follow these five tips to prevent back injuries and pain on your vacation, so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun.

Lift luggage with care. Luggage is one of the main causes of travel-related back injuries. Or, more correctly, handling the luggage incorrectly can trigger an injury. Most suitcases today are equipped with wheels and a long-ergonomic handle so that you can pull rather than carry it. If you haven’t upgraded yet, it’s past time to do so.

When lifting luggage, avoiding bending and twisting. And never bend over to pick up heavy items; squat and use your leg and buttocks muscles instead.

Carry bags carefully. Avoid piling several bags or backpacks onto one shoulder. Distribute weight evenly. If you’re carrying anything in both arms, hold it close to your chest. And when picking up bags, move your body to meet the bag rather than pulling the bag toward you.

Request assistance. Airports offer services such as curbside check-in for a reason! Look into all of the assistance options available to you. Preboarding can give you more time, so that you’re not rushed. Assistance with lifting bags into overhead bins is probably available. And if you need help getting around a large airport, inquire about motorized carts.

Mail souvenirs back home. If you do a lot of shopping on your trip, consider stopping by a post office and mailing your souvenirs home. That way you won’t have to deal with extra heavy luggage at the airport.

Maintain good posture in airplane seats. Keep feet planted on the floor in front of you, and avoid slumping or slouching. Bring a lumbar support pillow if your lower back tends to ache when sitting for long periods. Finally, remember to get up and walk around frequently so that your back doesn’t “lock” into one position.

And of course, in the event that you do experience back pain while traveling, come see us right away when you return. Chiropractic adjustments can relieve your pain and help you get back to your normal routine.