How to Prevent Travel Aches and Pains

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Going for a long trip comes with some negative aspects such as experiencing travel aches and pains. But don’t worry. These easy-to-follow tips will help you prevent experiencing any of these problems on your next trip.

Use Protective Lifting Techniques for Luggage

There are several lifting techniques that can help you protect the spinal structures from undue stress. For instance, try to bend your legs at knees and squat when lifting heavy items. Bending at the waist can be very painful for the spine. Also, make sure you are carrying the weight in your leg muscles and not the back muscles. Keep the item closer to your chest when you carry it, instead of piling bags on one shoulder. What you should do instead is distribute weight evenly on both sides of your body. Lastly, try to move your body in order to meet the bag, instead of the other way around.

Lift Luggage in Stages to Protect the Back

Back injury while travelling often occurs when you’re lifting heavy items incorrectly and out of the body’s range of motion. For example, when you are lifting a suitcase into an overhead compartment or twisting at the waist to move a suitcase from a car trunk. If you want to avoid back injuries it is important to make sure you are lifting heavy items slowly and breaking the action into multiple easier steps and motions. For instance, if you are trying to lift the bag from the ground to the overhead compartment, place the bag on the seat first, and then lift it overhead. The same goes for travelling by car. Lift the suitcase onto a chair and then lift it on the back of your car.

A better stand in the airport security line

In case you are traveling by plane, many hazards occur before you even get on the plane, or in other words at the airport and in the security lines. It is recommended that you make some adjustments while you’re waiting in the security line. For instance, put down the heavy bags and pick them up when you have to move in line by squatting and breaking the motion into several different stages, as mentioned above. Turn it into a light exercise session. Make sure to correct your posture when you are holding bags. You need to pull your abdominals in and stand equally on both feet on the ground.

Preform in-seat exercises

Once you board your flight, the biggest concern and cause of back pain is the stiffness from sitting in one position for a long time. You can get major neck and lower back pain from falling asleep with your head in an uncomfortable bent position or when you’re crossing your legs and leaning on the armrest. For this reason, performing easy in-seat exercises can be very helpful. Try out the ankle circles, knee extension, glute squeezes, and other exercises that will help you pump the muscles while providing them with a little workout at the same time.

Get up and walk around the plane

Sitting in one place for a longer period of time is not very good for the back. It can cause serious back issues that you certainly don’t want to have to deal with when you’re on vacation and just want to relax. Walking around the plane every one to two hours can help you with this problem. It will allow you to move around and stretch your legs as well. Try stretching your quads by bending the foot back as far as you can. Also, try standing on one foot in front of the other for a few minutes. This will help you feel the stretch in the back of the lower leg. You can do these simple stretch moves and exercises when you’re waiting in line for the bathroom.

Do not sit with your legs tucked under you or up on the seat

You will most likely experience the same problems when travelling by car. Not only can you experience neck pain from uncomfortable sleeping positions, but you can also have many problems caused by the position of your legs as well. This is why it’s important for you not to put your legs in any uncomfortable positions that will cause you to have sore muscles. For instance, keeping your legs tucked under you is very bad, especially if you are travelling for a long time. This position will squish the soft tissue in the knee and hip area and as a result, shorten your muscle. Once you unfold them, you will feel stiff from sitting in that very uncomfortable position for a long period of time. This will also cause the compressing of the blood vessels and nerves.

Get out and move around every hour

It is also recommended that you get out of a car every once in a while during your trip and walk a little bit. This will help relax your muscles and make the stiff feeling go away. Use this chance to stretch your legs and arms. You can also do a few backward bends. All you need to do is place your hands on the hips and move the head and shoulders backward behind the pelvis. This way you will be counteracting the poor sitting posture.

Give sore muscles an ice massage

If you feel like you have sore muscles from a long trip, give your muscles a nice and cooling ice massage. All you need to do is freeze five centimetres of water in a Styrofoam cup. Then peel the top and use the edge of the ice that is exposed. Hold on to the bottom part and rub the exposed side of the ice to rub it on the sore muscle. Make sure to rub the muscle in the direction it runs. This way you will be stretching and massaging the muscle at the same time. In case you’ve had this sore feeling in the muscle for the past 48 hours, massage it for about 20 minutes, several times a day. The ice massage will help reduce inflammation and will also numb the nerve endings and relieve the pain.

Take care of yourself

It’s also very important to make good health choices when travelling. You need to plan ahead and take care of yourself in advance. The first and most important thing on the list is getting a good night’s sleep. Also, you need to eat well and drink plenty of water. Avoid eating fast food. If you are dehydrated and lack nutrients, you will be at a higher risk of getting aches and pain in your muscles while travelling. Make sure to put aside time for exercises and relaxation and wear comfortable clothes. Lastly, consider getting a relax massage chair which will help you to ease muscle tension before every long trip.

Seek medical treatment

Lastly, many aches and pain while travelling can be easily treated without professional help. However, there are some situations in which it’s best to seek medical treatment. For instance, if you are experiencing severe aches that simply won’t go away even after following through with the self-care steps such as applying ice on sore muscles, you need to seek medical help. Some other symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, rash, redness, swelling, abdominal pain, or loss of muscle strength need to be medically treated. Also, this goes for experiencing pain that travels down the limbs or any numbing and tingling sensation. Lastly, look for signs of a possible blood clot in your leg. If you notice any leg swelling, pain, tenderness along the thigh, or warmth, seek medical help right away.


In conclusion, preventing travel pains and aches isn’t that hard. You just need to constantly remind yourself to avoid certain positions that will have you experiencing pain and soreness in muscles and use any given chance to move around and stretch. These tips will help guide you the next time you decide to go on an adventurous trip.  

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