It’s that time of year to start planning long family trips to visit relatives for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For some families, that means long road trips and the older you get, the more likely the aches and pains from the long drive linger for days. But are there steps you can take to alleviate your neck and back pain when driving for multiple hours at a time? At Mauricio Chiropractic we know that long road trips can be daunting, so we want to make sure you’re prepared the best you can in order to not be cutting that turkey while suffering from back spasms.
Sitting in one position for an extended period of time tightens muscles. We recommend stretching before getting in the car to loosen them and prepare them for the trip. Stretching opens up the passageways for blood and oxygen to get to muscles in the legs, which can greatly reduce the chance of deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can become very serious, especially in the elderly. DVT is a blood clot that can form in a vein deep in the body, normally in the lower legs and thighs through stationary seating. It can cause a serious problem in the lungs, called a pulmonary embolism. Stretching beforehand in addition to taking regular breaks can counter this condition.
Keep Your Muscles Warm
If you don’t have built in car seat warmers in your vehicle we advise purchasing some heat packs. Applying heat packs to the lower back and glutes will dilate the blood vessels, improve blood circulation, and help sore and tightened muscles relax. These heat packs can greatly relieve pain or spasms that can affect drivers and passengers that are seated in the same position for a prolonged amount of time.
Make Sure Your Car Seat Has Good Lumbar Support
Your spine has a natural inward curve but through fatigue and lack of concentration we have the tendency to slouch forward, causing a body position that puts extreme pressure on the lower back. If your car seat is not suitable for correct posture, apply a small rolled up towel or cushion to your lower back to maintain its natural position.
Support Your Feet
Bottom-up leverage is important for supporting your spine. Your feet need to be firmly placed on a surface and at the right height to avoid your lower back compensating for the pressure and putting your health and wellness at risk. The optimum position to have is your knees at 90 degrees and your hips just below knee height. If you have the option while driving to utilize cruise control, having both feet flat on a firm surface is best.
Rest And Take A Break
It is recommended that for every 2 hours of driving you should take at least a 15-minute break. This break should include getting out and walking around. Your body was built to be mobile and flexible, sitting in the same position for hours on end is not ideal for it. It is best to plan your trip beforehand and mark the stops that you will be able to take. Malls or outlet stores are ideal because they have the capacity for short walks around. Walking will also increase the flow of blood through your body, carrying oxygen to those fatigued muscles around the back and legs that need healing. Contrary to belief, taking a 15-minute walk will actually rejuvenate you and make you less tired.
Eat Healthy for Long Trips
Fast food and road trips seem to go together, but we highly advise against this. Fast food is generally packed with sugars which results in a high energy spike upon consumption, followed quickly by a ‘crash’ period. This can result in you becoming fatigued and slouched over, putting extra pressure on your neck and back. Making wise food choices is essential for optimum wellness. Healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and vegetables will give you the necessary energy you need, while not having you come down off of high sugar surges.
Like eating healthy, staying hydrated has the benefits of aiding in your body’s fight against pain and stiffness. Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates the joints in the body. It also helps to carry oxygen to the cells in your muscles, furthering aiding in their constant recovery.
Chiropractic Care After A Long Road Trip
After a long road trip there are benefits to visiting your local Orlando Chiropractor. Even after implementing all of the tips above your body can still suffer from the aches and pains of a long car journey. Our chiropractors can perform a number of non-surgical procedures such as spinal adjustments, soft tissue and deep tissue massages, and full body realignment procedures that can help in the recovery process. Set up an appointment with us today at one of our chiropractic clinics.