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Pain-Free Adventures: Travel Hacks for a Comfortable Journey

woman in a orange subaru enjoying a cup of coffee on her road trip

Traveling is all about exploration and adventure, but staying cooped up in planes and cars or sleeping on a different mattress can wreak havoc on your body. Stiffness, aches, and inflammation can put a damper on your vacation spirit. Here at OWL Chiropractic, we want you to experience the world pain-free! So, pack your bags and these handy travel hacks to keep inflammation and pain at bay:

Move it or Lose it

Sitting for long periods is a recipe for stiffness. For long car rides, make sure to stop every few hours to stretch and walk around for a few minutes. Concentrate on your hip flexor muscles which will be tightening up with all those hours sitting. Stuck on a long flight? Stretch before you board and walk up and down the aisle a few times during the flight if possible. You can also perform isometric exercises like clenching and releasing your leg muscles without leaving your seat. 

woman drinking water out of a fountain

Hydration is Key

Dehydration can exacerbate inflammation. While you may be trying to avoid too many bathroom breaks on your car trip, refer to the previous travel hack and stay hydrated, you’ll be stopping frequently to stretch anyway! 

Pack Smart, Snack Savvy

Gas stations and airport food courts and convenience stores are full of inflammatory processed foods. Ditch the soda, sugar-laden coffee, chips, and donuts. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, and veggies to keep your body fueled with anti-inflammatory goodness. Throughout your travels you should aim for high protein and low sugar, alcohol, and gluten; for all of the latter are highly inflammatory and will increase the likelihood of pain. 

Mind Your Head Position

Whether in a car, train, or plane - making sure you keep your head over your shoulders and not pushed forward or looking down is key to keeping a spine happy. Tilt your seat back some and your head pressed back against the headrest to reduce stress on your spine. Those with long hair will benefit from traveling with a hairstyle that does not prevent them from putting their head against the headrest (sorry pony ponytails). 

Two people hiking and wearing proper footware

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Footwear can have a dramatic impact on how your body feels. While you may want to wear cute shoes on your vacation or wear flip-flops at the beach all day - that may not be the smartest choice. Especially if you are walking long distances, your body will thank you for choosing supportive footwear like sneakers. 

Bonus Tips

  • Pack a foam roller or massage ball and utilize it throughout your vacation. 

  • A portable heating pad can help relax tight muscles. 

  • A portable ice pack can help reduce inflammation for any flare-ups. 

  • Consider having a massage during your vacation to help melt away travel tension.

  • Compression socks can help improve circulation and reduce swelling, especially during long flights.

  • Schedule a chiropractic appointment before and after your trip to keep your spine aligned and your nervous system functioning at its best. 

By incorporating these simple strategies, you can keep inflammation and pain at bay, allowing you to focus on creating lasting travel memories. And remember, if pain persists, consult your chiropractor at OWL Chiropractic for personalized adjustments and advice. Happy travels!

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