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Tips to Help Relieve Travel-Related Pain

Written by Dr. Ally Jackson, DC. and provided by Airrosti

Many people travel for work or vacation, and often these trips include long plane rides with young and sometimes restless children.

Extended flights can be uncomfortable for everyone involved, from sitting in cramped seats and overcrowded cabins to dealing with pre-flight anxiety. By staying active, hydrated, and well-rested, you can combat common flight-related aches and pains.

Here are four simple tips to help you stay active and pain-free during your travels!

Stay Hydrated: Many of us forget to drink enough water when we’re traveling, and for long flights, it can be detrimental to your health. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, and can also contribute to fatigue that can follow you even after you step off the plane.

If you’re offered drinks on your flight, choose water over alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.

Sleep Properly: For red-eye flights, make sure your sleeping posture isn’t going to leave you with a sore neck or back when you wake up.

Proper sleeping position is key to restful sleep. Unfortunately, finding a comfortable position can be difficult when you’re in economy seating with rigid chairs that barely move.

One way to avoid neck strain is to bring a small pillow with you for support. When you’re ready to start dozing off, try to keep your spine straight to avoid straining your back.

Stay Active: It’s important to keep your body active during long flights. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also be moving to prevent blood clots. A study by the World Health Organization found that on flights four hours or longer, approximately 1 in 4,500 airline passengers will develop a blood clot.

To help combat the development of blood clots, try taking a short walk down the aisle every two hours. Doing so will help improve blood flow while also combatting muscle tension and stiffness.

Below are three more exercises you can try to keep your body moving on the plane. If you’re flying with little ones, you can also keep them entertained by encouraging them to do these exercises with you.

3 Exercises To Keep You Moving

***Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. * 

1) Shoulder/Neck Stretch

  • Sit with your back straight.

  • Tilt and turn your head to one side.

  • Nod your head forward until you feel a stretch along the side and back of your neck.

  • Apply extra pressure (gently) with your hand to increase the stretch if needed.

  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

2) Ankle ABCs

  • Sit with your toes pointed out in front of you.

  • Slowly move your ankle to spell out the alphabet in capital letters with your toes.

  • Do not let your hips or knees move.

  • Complete one set and repeat the exercise with the other foot.

3) Glute Squeezes

  • Sit at the edge of your seat with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Flex your glutes as hard as possible to raise yourself up in your chair.

  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

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