Chiropractic Care While Traveling

The Do’s and Dont’s!

How can I protect my back while traveling?

The most important thing to keep in mind while traveling is to KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING! Sitting for long periods on planes, trains, and automobiles can really take its toll on our bodies! Sitting loads the spine more than 200% more than standing and causes many problems to our spine. And if your spine’s already not perfect, it exacerbates the problem! Try getting out of the car a bare minimum of every 2 hours. MUCH better is once an hour! Get out and walk around for even just 5 minutes. It may take a bit longer, but you’ll be much happier and healthier when you arrive! The next thing is to do your Denneroll orthotic blocks regularly. They barely take up any space in your car or luggage, they’re super lightweight, and they stay crispy in milk ☺! You can undo a lot of the stress put on your body by regularly giving yourself a posture tune-up! Even once a day instead of the normal twice per day can make a huge difference! Yes, it takes time out of your precious vacation time (are they ever long enough? Maybe, if you’re traveling with 4 boys, nobody sleeps, you eat lousy food, and you’ve been running from event to event for 5 days straight!) However, you’ll prevent a lot of problems by lying on those blocks regularly, especially on vacation!

How do I prevent neck pain when traveling?

In short, keep it in alignment! Regularly do your Denneroll orthotic if you’ve been prescribed one by your doctor. Also, do gentle neck circles: picture the tip of your nose drawing a perfectly-round circle (or even not-so-perfect!) both right and left. Make it as big a circle as you can without straining it. Try 5-10 circles in each direction twice per day.

What is the one stretch that relieves back pain?

It’s very difficult to provide one stretch for back-pain relief, as everyone is so different! But what nearly everyone needs is to improve motion. Try folding forward over your slightly-bent knees while clasping your hands on your opposite elbows. Just let your upper body weight hang nice and easily over your knees, getting your head as close to the floor as you can without straining. The second one involves a foam roller. Everyone should have a foam roller! Place it on the floor, perpendicular to your spine. Lie with it under your back and roll up and down the roller as high and as low as you can. Try to bend your back around the roller and stretch your back along its length. With both of these exercises, deep, smooth, full breaths the entire time will make a tremendous difference! Your spine should be moving in a wave with each inhale and exhale all day long, but especially when you’re on your foam roller!

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So I get tons of questions of, “How do I protect my spine? How do I hold my adjustments? How do I feel good when I’m going on a vacation? How do I come back and not hurt worse than when I left?” Because we’re supposed to be feeling good on vacation. In other words, how to not be tripping when you’re tripping. You know what I’m saying?

So how do we take care of our bodies? Well, the first thing we have to do is we have to actually get there. So, if you’re going by plane or train or automobile. And by the way, if you’ve not seen that amazing movie, ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with John Candy and Steve Martin, it’s some of their best. It is an absolute must. You can get some great health tips, especially from John Candy in that one. But anyway, how do not be tripping when you are tripping. So when you’re getting there in a plane, train, or automobile, we have to look at your posture. I may or may not have been talking to Christine just a moment ago about what her husband sometimes does when he feels like he needs to sleep on the plane, and she says, “Bro, what are you doing? I want my husband to be alive, healthy, and happy when he gets there.” This is not conducive to that. So if we’re on an airplane, for example, or in the passenger seat of a car, do those neck pillows, foamy, fluffy air things, whatever they’re called, work? The answer is yes, and they’re pretty good. They actually hold your head semi-upright. That can be a good idea, or bring your pillow, stuff it in your carry-on if it fits in your carry-on and use your pillow on the plane, especially if you’re on the windows seat. That can be really helpful. We don’t want to be kinked or bent too much. We want to minimize that.

Secondly, whether you’re in a plane or a car or train, the same basic thing, we want to sit up pretty darn straight, we can recline. We don’t want to be bent forward or tilted this way or bent sideways or any which way, but the most important thing is not even that it’s that you get up very, very frequently. So when you’re in an airplane, you can control that by getting up and pretending to go to the bathroom, or actually going to the bathroom if you’re drinking enough water, which by the way, you should be peeing clear about every hour, to hour and a half max. So if you go on a three-hour plane ride and never have to pee, you’re dehydrated. So please drink some more water. So hydration can be a huge factor in preventing jet lag, back pain, and other problems. But I sort of digressing to say getting up and moving your body is critical. If you’re like me, you grew up with a dad who wouldn’t stop for anything except for fuel, and you better get right back in the car, or you’re getting left.

My dad would never really leave me. He loved us, but he was on a timeline, and it was crazy, so we had to get out. If we’re going to stretch at all, I had to be like 50 burpees for the time while the thing filled up, but we didn’t do burpees when I was little, and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to. But anyway, move your body a bare minimum of every two hours, but really better is every hour. Get up even for just a few minutes. Pullover, go to the rest stop. Get up, and walk around. You’ll feel so much better when you get there, if you’re hydrated and if you got up and moved around. And how do you stretch in a plane? Well, it’s not super easy, but I’ll do it standing, waiting for the bathroom, leaning on the wall, and doing your calendar pose like, “Yeah, I’m cool.” Lean, bend like this. You can bend over, squat, and do all sorts of things. It doesn’t really matter how weird you look. People on planes and airports are weird anyway, so don’t worry about how you look, worry about how you feel so you can treat your loved ones around you awesome on that vacation. So that’s getting there and getting back.

Now, what do we do while we’re in the hotel, in a friend’s or family member’s house, or in the Airbnb or… I say, V-R-B-O, but my son just corrected me last week, “Dad, it’s Vrbo.” Okay, it’s Vrbo. Whatever you call it, what do we do when we’re in there? The number one thing is we exercise regularly. Try to maintain your regular exercise schedule, and if you’re not regularly exercising, start it on vacation. Why not? Don’t kill yourself, so you’re super sore, but move your body regularly. Those hotel beds are horrible, most of them, and the pillows are even worse. Watch my pillow video, but if you’re using the hotel pillow and your head’s like this, possible problem? Yeah, definite problem. So don’t use their pillow. Your head should be near flush with the bed, or use your own pillow that’s high quality from home. Watch my pillow video for more on that.

So what do we do if we don’t bring our wobble cushion or something like that? We can sit on the corner of the hotel bed. You can’t see my rump, and that’s okay, but you can wobble on the corner of your hotel bed as long as there’s not a footboard; that can be uncomfortable or difficult to balance. So you take care of your spine by moving it regularly, exercising regularly, and bringing your Dennerolls. People say, “Oh, I can’t bring those.” These are light and fluffy, and they stay crunchy in milk. So if you want to travel with health, use your Denneroll on vacation. It’s not a big deal. You need time to pray, meditate, whatever. We’re on vacation. How else are we going to put up with family unless we get some real prayer time early in the morning and late at night? But gravity works everywhere. It doesn’t matter what your altitude is or if you’re on a slight angle or whatever. So bring these things with you. They’ll make a huge difference.

So, in summary, make sure you’re getting up and moving regularly. Make sure your posture is good in your seat. Make sure you’re hydrating, make sure you’re exercising regularly, and do your Dennerolls while you’re on that vacation. If you do these things or even do it 60%, you’ll be much better, and I won’t have to hear, “Oh, doc, I went on vacation last week.” “Oh, you must be relaxed and feeling so great, ’cause vacations bring our body blessing and our mind restoration, and we’re literally recreating our bodies and our nervous systems.” But what I often hear is, “No, I’m so stiff.” We don’t want to hear that. We wanna hear, “I feel awesome. I feel better than ever.” So those are some useful tips on traveling, tripping without tripping, know what I’m saying? See you next time.

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