With the dawn of March comes Spring Break Season: a time where many break out bikinis for beach vacations, some jump in the car to explore new destinations, and everyone is enjoying a well-deserved break. Unfortunately for thousands, back pain often comes creeping into their spring break vacation, ruining everything and destroying any rest you hoped to get from your break.
With these six tips, put an end to this vicious cycle of pain and enjoy your spring break safely!
1. Travel Smart This Spring Break
Next to the holidays, spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Whether you experience chronic pain or simply suffer occasional back aches from sleeping the wrong way, the most important thing for everyone to bear in mind is to stretch. Keeping your back and legs locked in the same position for hours will wreak havoc on your spine.
When traveling in an automobile, make sure to take frequent stops to get out of the car and walk around for a bit. Even if it's just for a few minutes, allowing your muscles and joints to stretch out before jamming yourself back into the car won't put much of dent in your travel time but will make a world of a difference for your back.
This same theory applies to traveling by airplane - our bodies are not meant to be seated at a 90 degree angle for hours on end. When the pilot gives you the go ahead to unfasten your seat belt, take a brief walk down the cabin. Giving your body a chance to readjust and lessen the stress on your joints means that once you've touched down at your destination you'll feel awake and ready to go.
Additionally, no matter your method of transportation - whether it be plane, train, or automobile - bring along a supportive pillow. Placing a pillow at the small of your back or in the crook of your neck will discourage your spine from curving in an uncomfortable position during travel time.
2. Prepare for New Activities
So, you've just arrived at your destination. How exciting! Maybe you'll try go-carting, kayaking, or even camping. All sound like excellent spring break activities. However, if your body is not accustomed to these activities, you might wake up feeling sore and uncomfortable.
There are no tricks to magically make you feel in shape before a big vacation. But, prepping for these activities will go a long way. For instance, if you're anticipating a day of kayaking, do some exercises a few minutes before to stretch out the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Try simple motions, such as:
- Neck Rolls: Tilt your head to the right and slowly roll it down to have your chin meet your chest, then continue to the left. Reverse to the right, then repeat five times in each direction.
- Shoulder Rolls: Starting from proper alignment position, roll your shoulders up, then back, then down in a fluid motion, making small circles. Repeat this motion 10 times; then reverse, rolling down, then back, then up for another 10 times.
- Arm Circles: Standing perpendicular to a wall in proper alignment, move your arm in large, slow circles. Attempt to get as close to the wall as possible, to assure your circle is in a full range of motion. Repeat 10 times going clockwise and counter-clockwise, before turning the other way to rotate the opposite arm.
3. Be on Your Game While Playing Sports
Did somebody say beach volleyball? Count us in! Similar to trying out new activities, if you're going to be playing some new sports this spring break, just be mindful of your body's limitations. If you feel pain while playing, don't push yourself. Likewise, try going for an alignment before your trip. Fresh out of the chiropractor's office, you'll feel energized and healthy to take on whatever comes your way.
You don't want to jeopardize your entire break for one round of volleyball. Of course, utilizing back and neck stretches will always help. But, if you do decide to spike that ball this break, remember to always bend from your knees - your back will thank you.
4. Watch Your Step
Breaking out a new pair of heels this spring break? We support your fashion choices. Your back, however, might not. If you're going to be wearing new shoes, make sure they provide some type of support to avoid muscle tension in your legs and lower back.
Likewise, watch your step! If you're going to a new location, make sure you're confident in your footing before you try to stroll off and take a spill. If you're going to be drinking alcohol, always be mindful of your limits. You never want to be stumbling out of the restaurant, especially in a new location. In addition to tripping over your own two feet, you can miss obvious steps or wet spots and ultimately slip and injure yourself.
5. Avoid Being a Couch Potato
Are you looking to relax this spring break? There's nothing wrong with that. However, avoid "tech neck" while keeping up with your favorite shows or scrolling through social media. Keeping your neck bent and your body curled up in an awkward position might be fine at first, but after the third episode of your binge-watch marathon your spine will be begging for some relief.
Even if you're looking to relax this spring break, try not to stay cooped up. Try going for a walk, or doing some yoga. Beneficial to spinal health and a great way to relax, these activities will leave you feeling refreshed.
6. Go for a Massage
What better way to relax than by getting a massage? This spring break, treat your body to some much needed TLC. Massages provide a plethora of health benefits, including alleviating back pain, soothing anxiety and depression, improving sleep, boosting your immune system, and even helping with headaches. During your break from the "real world" provide your body with the attention its been craving.
Happy spring break! You deserve this time to relax, and enjoy fun activities with friends and family. If you're concerned your back pain may hold you back during your vacation, contact ChiroCare to help pinpoint the cause of the problem and eliminate it. With eight convenient locations around South Florida, the folks at ChiroCare want you to enjoy a painless and safe spring break!