As we come to the end of another fabulous Summer, we can look back on all the fun we’ve had. With gas prices down an average of 25 cents, Americans have been more inclined to get in the car and head out over this amazingly beautiful country. AAA road service reports that nearly 100 million Americans were set to travel on family vacations in the Summer of 2019. It is literally and quintessentially the time of year for ROAD TRIPS!!
However, what I’m seeing at Seven Point Wellness in the past month may be the result of all this fun.
Besides the usual digestive issues that come from eating too many hot dogs/burgers off the grill, and the allergies that plague all of us in the Northeast - many of my patients are coming in with low back pain.
I’ve been hearing...“I don’t understand . . . I’m not chained to my desk like in the colder months, why is my back hurting?”
Sitting for long periods of time will frequently cause lower back compression and discomfort - whether it be an office chair, your couch, or a seat in your favorite travel vehicle. Sitting puts your body in an “L” position (hinged at the waist) with most of your upper body’s weight pressing down on the vertebra of your lumbar spine.
While properly placed lumbar support pillows, adjustments to the seat and/or heated seats might mitigate some of the inevitable, none of them will save you from the stiffness and pain that most people experience after long trips.
The bottom line is you must get out of the vehicle, or stand up if you’re on a plane, train or bus at least every 45 minutes, (preferably every 30 minutes) and Stretch, Release and Reset (SRR) this compression.
This allows the muscles around your pelvic area that are in contraction when you sit in the “L” position to relax and return to normal length. It also allows your spine to reset and open the spaces between the vertebra that bear your body’s weight.
Lastly, remember that good “travel” posture is also a major component in your efforts to stay healthy. If you’re a passenger, try to sit forward and place two thirds of your weight into your legs, with your buttocks taking just one third of the weight. Straighten your back and then slightly arch your lower back forward.
This will release the muscles of the rest of your back and nurture the natural lordotic curve you were born with. IMPORTANT: If you’re driving, try this only while your vehicle is in cruise control.
If your back is already bothering you from your travels, call in and schedule an appointment so that we can help you with your discomfort. Or schedule online here!
Fall’s coming. Life will get busy.
No time to be flat-on-your-back waiting for the pain to go away!