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Traveling Tips For The Holiday Season

Traveling to see family and friends during the holidays can fill your heart with joy and leave your body exhausted and in pain. We tend to push ourselves a little harder during the holiday season to keep families close and traditions fulfilled. This article will talk about tips and tricks to make your travel more enjoyable and less uncomfortable on your body.

· Tip#1 Take Rest Breaks

You have heard it multiple times; take rest breaks. But is it really important? The answer is Yes! Sitting in the car for long durations can wreak havoc on your joints, neck, back, and blood flow. Movement is the best medicine. Getting out of the car every 2-3 hours and even more often if you have had a recent surgery or injury. During these breaks, walk around and take a moment to stretch. The most important things to stretch are your back, hamstrings, hip flexors, and neck. Here are some great stretches you can do in & beside your car.

  • Piriformis stretch: Sit at the edge of your seat or on a park bench. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. If you feel a stretch, hold. If not, you can lean forward. This will give you a big stretch in your glutes and hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds and Repeat on the other side. Hamstring stretch: Stand up next to your car for balance. Place your right heel on the curb and hinge forward at the hips until you feel a stretch. Keep the right leg straight and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. You can do this 2-3 times on each side.

  • Hip flexors: Place your hands on the roof of your car and step back with your right leg. Press your right heel toward the ground and press your hips forward. You will feel a big stretch in the front of your right leg.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch to your left leg. Repeat on each leg 2-3 times

  • Neck: Move your neck from side to side, holding for 10 – 15 seconds each. Finish up with some small neck circles.

  • Back: Reach your hands overhead, stretching toward your left and your right. If you have no history of bulging disc or hernia, you can hinge forward with straight legs. Let your body hang swaying lightly to the left and right.

· Tip #2 Heel Pumps to move your blood

Did you know that your calves are considered your second heart? It assists the venous flow of blood from your lower extremities up to your heart for purification. Sitting for long durations of time decreases the blood flow in your legs. This can increase the risk of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. Between taking your walk breaks, stretch out those legs and pump your ankles. Pump them as if you are pressing on a gas pedal.

You can do this as often as you like. Keep that blood flowing!

· Tip #3 Support your low back

Sitting for long durations can cause you to slouch, putting unnecessary stress on your back. Using a small towel roll, bolster, or lumbar support will significantly improve your seated posture, support your low back, and decrease the stiffness in your back, neck, and shoulders. Take your lumbar support and place it right above your hips. Make sure the role feels supportive and not restrictive.

· Tip #4 Roll those shoulders back

Forward slouched shoulders can cause mid-back and neck pain. Sitting in a car can reinforce this forward-rolled shoulder. Following step #3 and placing small lumbar support at your back will help decrease this forward roll. Make a conscious effort to sit up tall and roll those shoulders back against your seat. Roll, relax and rest.

Tip #5 Limit your phone use

Spending a long duration of time on your phone causes a forward head posture. For every inch your head sets forward, it adds 10-12 pounds to your head weight. This can create tension headaches and neck pain. The tighter your muscles become, the less range of motion you will have and the more discomfort you will have in your neck and shoulders. So put the phone down and enjoy the beautiful scenery, have a great conversation, or listen to a good audiobook.

Tip #6 Remove that wallet

Sitting on a wallet can place uneven pressure on your pelvis. This is a guarantee for piriformis syndrome or SI joint dysfunction. If those terms sound foreign to you, it means significant back pain. You can carry your wallet in your back pocket; take it out when sitting in the car. Your back will thank you.

Getting out to visit your friends and family is necessary for your mental health and wellness. Do not let pain stand in your way. If you have pain before your trip, seek physical therapy for individualized treatments to relieve your pain and regain your life. Wellness 360 Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy uses evidence-based exercises and treatments for your health and wellness needs. Scheduling an appointment is easy; call 585-259-0782. No Doctor script? No problem!

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