6 Tips To Avoid Back Pain During Summer Road Trips - Functional Advantage
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6 Tips To Avoid Back Pain During Summer Road Trips

It’s finally Memorial Day Weekend! As many people hit the road for their first vacation of the summer, it’s important to remember these tips so you can stay comfortable in the car. Whether you’re taking a weekend trip up north in the car or heading to a far away destination, it’s finally time for some summer fun.

Here are 6 of our best tips so you can avoid back pain while traveling and enjoy your vacation! 

1. Take Breaks
Sitting in the same position for a long period of time, where you are unable to fully stretch your legs and back, can cause lower back tension in anyone — especially someone who already has back pain. Our bodies are not meant to be in the same position for very long, and they require movement to increase blood flow. If you have a hard time reminding yourself to take breaks, try drinking more water so you are forced to stop and use the restroom.

2. Extend the Breaks
Don’t just stop for a quick gas refill and jump right back into the car. Make sure your stops include stretching out your neck and back. Try to stop at a rest stop or large gas station, that way you can comfortably walk around and relax your body.

3. Position Your Seat Correctly
Whether you are traveling by car or in a plane, if you don’t have the correct seat setup your trip can be very uncomfortable. A 100 degree angled chair is ideal, but if that doesn’t work for you, test out the most comfortable position before you take off. You can add extra pillows or back support if you need to so you can enjoy your long trip comfortably.

4. Travel With a Friend
If you are traveling with a someone else, take breaks and switch off who is driving every time you stop for a break. Doing this will allow you to stretch out more comfortably on your off time even though you will be back in the car. Bring a neck pillow to use when you aren’t driving and recline the seat to make it more comfortable for you. You can also do small exercises, like shoulder rolls and gentle twists, while riding as a passenger to keep your spine at ease.

5. Avoid Using Electronics
If you are a passenger relaxing in the front seat, use a dashboard mount to hold your phone when watching a movie. This will help keep it closer to eye level and keep the stress off your neck. If you are stretching out in the backseat, use an accessory that holds your electronic device to the headrest in front of you. If you don’t have either of these, try to hold your phone/tablet at eye level and take breaks to stretch your neck and correct your posture.

6. Eat Good Food
It may be tempting to stop for fast food on road trips but this type of food could give you issues later on down the road. Salty, rich meals can cause discomfort and may result in you slouching in your seat to alleviate that pain. Your best course of action is to pack some healthy snacks. Eating more fruits and vegetables will also ensure your body is focused and will not get groggy during the long car ride. When you do stop for a meal, try to pick a place that has healthy options. Most fast food places now offer lighter, healthier options!

The key to comfort is keeping your pain in check. Don’t wait until it’s too late to stop or ask for a break. Even if you feel slightly uncomfortable, stop before it gets worse. Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure that your back pain can be kept under control and will allow you to enjoy your vacation.

If you are notice that you are experiencing low back pain after returning from the holiday weekend, click here to schedule a consultation with one of our experts and get your back pain taken care of before your next summer road trip!


Neil Sauer

Neil Sauer

Physical Therapist, Certified Health Coach and company owner Neil Sauer graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science. During that time he played four years of collegiate soccer. Neil earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Central Michigan University in 2006. He has taken continuing education courses for Stanley Paris manual therapy techniques and a Gary Gray Functional Training course. He has also taken selective functional movement assessment courses with the North American Sports Medical Institute (NASMI). Neil’s treatment philosophy goes beyond reducing pain and restoring motion/mobility. He has a passion for health and wellness and for improving the quality of life of his clients, and works holistically with them to ensure their injuries do not reoccur and that his clients enjoy optimal functionality. He strives to help his patients live more active, mobile and healthy lives knowing that they don’t have to rely on pain medications, injections or surgery. In his personal life, he is married and has two sons. During spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, spending time outdoors and leading an active and healthy life. Neil also likes to read as much as possible when he finds/makes time. He primarily reads books on leadership, business and special forces. An avid exercise enthusiast, he continually works to improve his own health and wellness.
Neil Sauer

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