5431 Jonestown Rd

Harrisburg, PA 17112 US

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Pain-Free Travel Tips for Your Back and Spine

Man having back pain while driving car

How to Prevent Pain While Traveling

Do you suffer from neck or back pain for days after a long car, plane, bus, or train trip? Sitting for hours stresses your spine, joints, ligaments, discs, and muscles, causing those travel-related aches and pains.

How Traveling Causes Pain

After you remain in the same position for a few hours, your joints and muscles tend to tighten. When this happens, your range of motion may decrease. As a result, the slightest movement can lead to painful muscle spasms or even strained muscles. Reaching forward to change the radio station or turning your head to look out the window can trigger jolts of pain if your muscles and joints are too tight.

Long trips can aggravate existing back or neck conditions, including arthritis, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and sciatica.

Sitting affects your spine's ability to support your body adequately. When you sit, the natural curve in your lower back flattens, while pressure on your spinal discs increases, according to a study published in the Asian Spine Journal.

Seat design is another issue. Although seat designers try to accommodate a range of body types and sizes, it's difficult to construct a seat that fits everyone equally well. If the headrest is too tall to fit your neck, or the seat doesn't offer enough lower back support, you're more likely to experience some degree of pain if your trip lasts more than an hour or two.

What You Can Do to Prevent Pain

Fortunately, pain can be avoided, or at least decreased, by following a few of these suggestions:

  • Take Regular Breaks: Break long car trips into two- or three-hour-long segments. If you're a passenger in a plane or train, get up and walk up and down the aisle a few times after two or three hours. Walking not only keeps your muscles and joints limber but also reduces the risk of blood clots on long trips.
  • Try a Few Stretches: Stretching before, during, and after long trips will help keep your joints and muscles limber, reduce spasms, and prevent range of motion restrictions.
  • Be Prepared: Pack a few things that make your trip more comfortable. If long trips leave you with an aching neck and a headache, use a headrest pillow or a U-shaped neck pillow. When back pain is an issue, buy a cushion that helps support the curves of your lower back. Bring a pillow or cushion to sit on if you often develop shooting pain in your back and legs after sitting for a few hours.
  • Use Pain-Relieving Patches, Ointments, or Tape: Pain-relieving capsicum patches or ointments can help ease muscle pain, while kinesiology tape applied to your neck or shoulders can reduce stress, pain, and swelling. If cold is most helpful, bring a few cold packs to ease your pain. (If you're traveling by air, you may not be able to bring the packs.)
  • Improve the Way You Sit: Slouching increases pressure on your back and neck and can increase aches and pains. Remind yourself to maintain good posture while sitting. Keeping your seat upright will make it more difficult to slouch. If sciatica or tailbone pain is a problem for you, put most of your weight on the bones in your legs, rather than your tailbone, when you sit.
  • See Your Chiropractor: Visiting your chiropractor before and after long trips can help you avoid pain. During your pre-trip visit, your chiropractor will offer treatments to improve the alignment of your spine and reduce muscle tension. If these issues aren't corrected, you'll be much more likely to experience pain. Treatments after your trip will focus on restoring spinal alignment, eliminating spasms and muscle pain, reducing inflammation, and improving range of motion.

Do you have a long trip planned soon? Chiropractic care can enhance your comfort. Contact our office to schedule your pre- or post-trip visit.

Sources:

Edmunds: Creating the Perfect Fit: New Car Seat Design

Spine Health: 7 Tips to Alleviate Back Pain on Your Road Trips, 9/12/19

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives, 5/24/18

Asian Spine Journal: The Effect of Standing and Different Sitting Positions on Lumbar Lordosis: Radiographic Study of 30 Healthy Volunteers, 10/15

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Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Skocik did a wonderful job helping me get back to normal. He explained things in detail. A very pleasant and courteous atmosphere. I found my go to chiropractor!!"
    Diane L.
  • "Dr Sk is thorough in his exams and explanations of recommended treatment and process. The staff are courteous, friendly and professional. I have seen improvement in my range of motion, mobility and reduction of pain in back and spine."
    Arlis V.
  • "I love this place. I have been going through a rough time, injuries, employment, school, death in the family, and stress. Dr. Skocik and his staff are a blessing. They have been there to help me not only with my injuries but with my life in general. No matter how much pain and misery I may be going through, I always leave feeling better and with a smile on my face. I think the entire staff is awsome."
    Melissa J.
  • "Quote from the movie The best exotic marigold hotel- β€œMost things don’t work out as expected, but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff.” - reminded me of you all. Thank you for helping me through my rough and frustrating healing process !!"
    Shirly P.
  • "Great office, sure had helped me"
    William G.
  • "Thank you to the entire team, Dr. Skocik, Kourtnay, Shannon, Nicole, and Daphne for taking great care of me. From not being able to walk to using a cane to now...you are a god-send! Highly recommended!!!!!"
    Dwayne D.
  • "Thanks"
    Jody B.
  • "Very nice people."
    Kim D.
  • "Great Doctor! Amazing Staff! The first time I went to skocik chiropractor I was in a lot of pain but after just a few months I feel so much better."
    Waslat W.
  • "In addition to the standard chiropractic services, Skocik also offers massage. The massage therapist is awesome, the prices are fantastic and I have never left anything but totally satisfied. You do give up a tiny bit of ambiance compared to a "spa", but what you get is more than worth it in my opinion. Highly recommended."
    Tiffany I.
  • "I appreciate Dr Skocik calling me at home to inquire about my recovery!
    Try stem cell & PRP therapy. It's worth it if it means having your life back without surgery!"
    Regenerative Medicine Patient O. Olagbemi
  • "I have been coming to this office for years and I would refer anyone to come to this office I never have had a bad experience."
    J. Weldon
  • "I like the combination of services they have.
    Adjustments, Maintenance, Physical Therapy options, massage and laser therapy.
    Not many places have that."
    A. Schultz
  • "The staff was very welcoming & make you feel completely comfortable. I would recommend them to anyone."
    T. Mahone
  • "Great Chiropactor , great staff, they are passionate about what they do and it shines through. I would highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic ! πŸ‘"
    T. Romberger
  • "Dr Skocik treats his patients like family, great rehab equipment, phenomenal staff and amazing massage therapists!!!"
    T. Warner
  • "I go here for massages, best you'll find in the area, and very good prices. The large office that has a wide range of chiropractic treatment equipment, and is a complete back treatment and rehab facility."
  • "This office is highly professional and organized! Great chiro service and I highly recommend!"
    J. LeCadre
  • "Simply the best! Period."
    J. Williams
  • "Dr. Skocik office treats you like family, wonderful staff and I will recommend anyone to his office.πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘"
    K. Trollinger
  • "Amazing first impression and excellent, thorough exam for diagnosis. Physical therapy feels great."
    C. Campbell
  • "This office is organized and very professional, great chiro care! Would definitely recommend this office!"
    C. Myers
  • "I've been seeing Dr. Skocik for many years. Very professional office, he and his staff take great care of me. I recommend them often."
    T. Mowatt
  • "Absolutely love Dr. Skocik and his staff!!! I treated with this practice for several years after a really bad fall, thanks to the wonderful chiropractic care and massage therapy I am pain free and have my mobility back!! Highly recommend Dr. Skocik!!!"
    T. Coffman
  • "Coming from Toronto and seized up shoulder. Dr went way out of his way on a Saturday to open the clinic for me to assess. Very professional and kind. Wonderful."
    A.C.
  • "Doctor Skocik is really sincere about helping people"
    J. Peiffer
  • "What I love about my experience. I was able to be seen with in a 24 hours window..For those who suffer from lower back pain will truly understand how important that is. For that alone i give you five stars .. Excellent staff"
    F. Jackson
  • "I love coming here. The staff is very Friendly! I have had all kinds of issues with my back and ever since I started coming here i have made lots of improvement. I highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic!"
    Jessica C.
  • "The level of care, from the chiropractic services, to the massage therapy..to the office staff...EVERYONE treats you like family. I can honestly say that their is a genuine concern for your progress and well being.
    I would highly recommend."
    Craig W.
  • "I have always had a good experience with them and I have been a patient for a number of years. They are very nice about rescheduling appointments. The staff is always very friendly and I have always found them reasonably priced."
    L. Henninger
  • "I had a great experience in Skocik Chiropractic and they are very professional and fixed my lower back pain problem. My whole family goes to this practice and we highly recommend to other people."
    F. Zhang
  • "Skocik Chiropractic was very personable and informative. Dr. Skocik and his staff purposefully takes care of their patients with attentiveness and professionalism. I enjoyed my time there and highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic."
    B. Wanda

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