Whether you’re planning to travel by road or by air this summer, sitting for extended periods of time can cause pain in the neck and back. The simple act of sitting places a great deal of stress on the spine, especially in the lower back. However, other factors come into play that can be quite taxing for your neck, back, and body as a whole.
Before you head out on your awesome summertime adventure, take a look at these handy stretches that you can do while you travel. One of the best ways to prepare for your trip is by elevating your wellness. Contact Arne Wellness Center to schedule an adjustment with your favorite Littleton chiropractor both before and after your vacation. In the meantime, take a look at these simple stretches you can use during your trip.
Stretches to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain While Traveling
Before we look at the best stretches to do for travel, let’s look at the ways in which traveling by car or by plane can negatively affect your spine and body. Next to lifting and carrying heavy luggage, prolonged sitting is the number-one cause of travel-related pain, as it can:
- Place a lot of stress and pressure on your entire spine
- Weaken your core muscles
- Increase tension and tightness in your neck and back muscles
- Increase your risk for muscle strains, pinched nerves, and muscle spasms
- Contribute to secondary symptoms in other areas of the body
Now, let’s look at a few simple stretches to make your travels a little more comfortable.
You can do any of these stretches while riding in a car or flying in a plane to reduce pressure from the cervical spine. Go into each stretch slowly and hold for 15-20 seconds each stretch.
Simply lower your head in front of you so that your chin touches or nearly touches your chest. You will feel a nice stretch in the upper and lower trapezius muscles, as well as in the deeper lateral muscles.
Chin-to-Chest Half Moons (With Slight Side-to-Side Rotation)
Follow the steps above and once your chin is on or close to your chest, gently roll your head to one side to stretch your lateral neck muscles, hold, return to center, then repeat on the opposite side.
Seated Shoulder Stretch
When we travel, it’s easy to hunch our shoulders over, which can cause soreness, tension, and tightness. To keep your shoulders limber, try this: In a seated position, carefully interlock your fingers behind your lower back. Once fingers are clasped and with straightened arms, squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend your chest outward. Hold for 15-20 seconds (about five full breaths). Repeat as needed.
Lower Back Stretches
The lower back takes a lot of the pressure during traveling, which can cause pain to develop in the hips, glutes, and down the back of the legs. Try these simple stretches before, during, and after your travels.
This is a great stretch for rest stops and after your flight. From a standing position, raise your arms above your head and simply fold your upper body forward, moving slowly as you go. Slowly bend forward until your hands come to rest on or near the floor. Gently return to a standing position and repeat as needed.
Piriformis Stretch (For Sciatica)
This is a great stretch for people with sciatica, or for lower back pain from traveling. In a seated position, place your right ankle on your left knee. Place your hand on your right knee for stability and with a straight spine, slowly bend forward so your chest hovers over your thighs. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. Slowly move back to your normal seated position and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat as needed.
Contact Your Chiropractor
If you already have neck, shoulder, or back pain, or you suffer from chronic pain, scheduling an adjustment with your Littleton chiropractor before you travel can help make your trip more comfortable. Contact your Top Rated Local® team at Arne Wellness Center to schedule chiropractic care, massage therapy, or any of our wellness services that can address your pain and discomfort.