Whether you’re flying or traveling by car to your vacation destination this summer, chances are it will involve prolonged sitting. This can leave you feeling achy, stiff, and uncomfortable and it’s an unpleasant way to start an exciting vacation. As chiropractors, we recommend the following tips to prevent travel aches and pains:


Airplane Travel

  • To maintain your spine’s natural “s” curve, use a pillow behind your back just above your beltline and lay another pillow between your neck and the headrest.
  • Your suitcase should only weigh about 5-10% of your bodyweight, so anything heavier should be checked luggage to avoid strains from heavy overhead lifting.
  • Utilize proper lifting mechanics while placing your carry-on in the overhead compartment (i.e. do not twist your back or head while lifting).
  • While seated, change your position slightly every so often to improve circulation in your legs and prevent cramps.
  • Opt to walk through the terminal on layovers instead of sitting while you’re waiting on your next flight.


Car Travel

  • As the driver, your seat should be as close to the steering wheel as possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips.
  • Consider using a lumbar roll support to place between your lower back and seat. It will help you maintain that natural “s” curve of the spine.
  • To reduce the risk of swelling and discomfort, tighten your muscles as you drive. Start with your toes, opening them as wide as you can for 10 seconds. Then tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, and then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back and tilt your head side to side.
  • Drink plenty of water and take rest breaks often.


Follow these tips to ward off pain during lengthy travel. If your summer vacation has led to pain, give us a call to schedule an appointment.