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Flat Rock, MI 48134 USA

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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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In the words of our patients

  • "Dr. Clark and the staff here are amazing. They are super friendly and thorough. I would highly recommend this practice!"
    Bobby H.
  • "I absolutely love going here. I've been referred by many that have had life changing experiences because of Dr. Porter . He is amazing at what he does & it shows. He knows what he is doing. I have already felt such a difference in my health. I have more energy and less digestive issues and it's only been a couple of months. Everyone is so nice and especially Dr. Porter. He really shows care & concern. He takes his time and doesn't rush you. You won't regret going here 😊 Also his wife is so sweet and has a great sense of humor ."
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  • "Love this place very clean. First time here. went for a massage Bruce is excellent so if u want a fantastic massage go see him. U won't be sorry"
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  • "I found my way to Porter-Clark by accident. I drove a friend to her appointment and as I waited in the waiting room I began to notice the efficiency of the staff , process and patient flow. I’m a healthcare consultant that assists organizations with operational efficiency and I was amazed at how efficient they actually were. We call it continuous flow and using the pull system. This means no waiting, bottlenecks or backups within the office process. Many organizations pay to achieve this kind of workflow. The best part of the visit is the friendliness of staff and the expertise of the docs. Hands down, the heat, massage and the skill of the message therapists for 10 minutes in the beginning of the visit is heavenly and worth the trip!! Many offices talk about putting patients first, but at Porter-Clark, they demonstrate it in everything they do. Great job!"
    Rita D.
  • "Excellent patient care and results from this clinic, which uses a holistic approach that combines chiropractic, massage, and clinical nutrition. Highly recommended!"
    Rachel M.
  • "I am new to your clinic and getting great results with the Nutritional Response Testing. Thank you so very much. I highly recommend the services of PCCC in Flat Rock."
    Emily S.
  • "I love it here! Everyone is extremely polite and helpful. I see Doctor Porter II and he’s been a lifesaver. He’s made room for me on his schedule multiple times when I’ve been randomly hit with a chronic migraine. He genuinely takes his time and cares about his patients. I’m really thankful for the friends that recommended me to this place and I highly recommend everyone else comes here as well."
    Alexandria V.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Porter for more than 20 years. He has helped me maintain a strong immune system and to live without pain. I trust him more than any medical doctor or specialist with my health and well-being."
    Review from healthgrades.com
  • "Dr. Cara and the staff at Porter & Clark Chiropractic are wonderful! The adjustments, heat and massage have healed my aches and pains (slight and severe) over the last several years. I would highly recommend Dr. Cara to anyone needing Chiropractic care."
    Chris T.
  • "The staff, they make this place amazing. If you need an adjustment or a massage check everyone out. The staff are helpful in finding you the type of therapist you need for your massage, and each doctor is pretty amazing, in their quality of care and concern for you as a client while you are on their tables."
    Adam I-L
  • "Been coming here for 11 years now... I feel immediate relaxation after adjustments and 9 out of 10 times my back pain has subsided. Some days I'm so bad I call to make an appointment and they get me in the office same day!! I can't say enough about Dr. Porter and the staff in general."
    Brandon L.
  • "I love this place! Dr. Clark has taken care of my chronic pain for years! No other treatments have been nearly as effective. A bonus is that the staff is always so friendly and helpful!!"
    Mary B.
  • "Dr. Porter has been treating me with an ongoing problem for years. I starting going to him after I could not get relief from my family physician. Through his treatments and a vitamin regimen, I don't need pain meds & feel so much better."
    Review from healthgrades.com
  • "The doctors and all the staff are excellent!"
    Tanya W.
  • "I am no longer in pain under Dr. Cara Phillips' care! Staff is always very friendly and greet you when you walk in. My first appointment they took xrays and did an evaluation. I now go to be adjusted monthly. They also offer heat therapy and a massage before being adjusted."
    Maggie J.
  • "With his gift for healing, and his expertise with NRT (Nutritional Response Testing), Dr. Porter has saved my life! I am off prescription medications and no longer suffer from chronic lower GI pain and problems."
    Charles K.
  • "Dr. Michael Porter II has taken care of me since I was in an auto accident last year, and monthly visits keep me out of pain. The office is a welcoming place, and patient care is clearly their priority. Highly recommended."
    Adam W.
  • "Dr. Clark has the best practice on the planet. Great individual time and attention. Chiropractors and massage therapists truly concerned about your health. Pleasant office atmosphere."
    Debbie A.

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