Tips For Traveling By PlaneApril 23, 2013 • By Marah Harrington
Guest Post by Marah Harrington, Office Manager at East End Chiropractic.
I will admit it: I am a terrible traveler. Over the years, I have flown so much that I’ve developed a long list of travel habits and, if I’m being honest, I always arrive at my destination with neck and back pain. So clearly I’m doing something (or many things) wrong… but what?
My biggest problem is that I am a carry-on queen. If at all possible, I will not check a suitcase. I once talked my husband into traveling with only a carry-on when he and I went on a three week trip (8 flights). Not only did we not have enough clothes with us, we were also miserable from lugging around heavy suitcases in airports and onto planes. Needless to say, he hasn’t taken my advice in the matter since. I don’t blame him!
I happen to have married someone who travels quite a bit for his job so I try to visit regularly when he is gone for long stretches. This past weekend, I headed up to New Hampshire and before I left, Dr. Olsen gave me a few tips for traveling by plane.
- Check bags that are more than 5-10% of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount should be avoided. We always end up twisted in strange positions when trying to get a heavy bag in the overhead compartment quickly so we are not holding up the line behind us. If you are lifting something overhead, be sure to stand right in front of the overhead compartment so your spine is not rotated.
- Bring a small pillow to place behind your lower back when you are seated on the plane. Airplane seats are built to accommodate people of all sizes. The way this is accomplished is by hollowing out the back of the seat, thereby removing all lumbar support. No lumbar support = unhappy back.
- Move around as much as possible. End seats are best for this and offer us the opportunity to get up and walk around. Middle and window seats offer more of a challenge. Try to keep the space under the seat in front of you clear so you can stretch your legs out a big and move your feet around.
- Bring a neck pillow. This will help you steer clear of the inevitable kink in your neck that happens when you fall asleep on the plane. A neck pillow may not completely prevent the problem, but it will certainly help.
- Use proper technique when lifting luggage off the carousel. Bend both of your knees, keep your back straight and in the upright position, and move your feet instead of twisting your back when trying to get your luggage off the carousel. Those belts move fast. Be ready.
Armed with these guidelines, I headed to the airport. Let me tell you, they made a world of difference for me! I am happy to report that I did not arrive at my destination with sharp pains in my neck and back. Hopefully the above tips will prove helpful to you as you prepare for your next plane ride.