When you live in Tamworth and you want to get away for a break, whether it’s for business or pleasure, there is no alternative. You’re going to have to travel. No matter whether it’s a quick trip to Newcastle or a month in Europe, at the very least you’ll be cramped into a car for four hours or a plane for many more. Staying in the seated position for many hours compresses the spinal discs and can make any pre-existing complaints worse. Long hours of sitting can weaken the core muscles that support the spine. The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and not be able to enjoy yourself because of back pain. Frequent movement can help to alleviate back pain, and can also prevent the formation of blood clots in the legs, known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Here are a few simple tips for keeping spinal problems from spoiling your trip:
* Raise your hands over your head and lightly press your palms together for five seconds. This will place your spine into extension, automatically stretching the abdominal muscles which contract while you are seated. It will also give your shoulders and upper back a good stretch.
* Your buttock muscles go to sleep when they are not being used. This places too much strain on the lower back, which has to work harder. Stand with your feet apart. Take a small step backwards while contracting the buttock muscles on that side for about 10 seconds. Repeat 5-6 times on each side.
* Breathing. Your diaphragm is an important inner core muscle. Get it to work properly by ‘belly breathing’. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Inhale through your nose, watching so that the hand on your belly moves before the hand on your chest. If your top hand moves first you are using the muscles of your chest and neck to breathe, which will result in fatigue. (Don’t try this one while you’re driving!)
* Move your body in unfamiliar ways. Hop on the balls of your feet. Stretch your arm over the top of your head as far as it will go.
* Put a golf ball on the floor and roll your foot over it. This will stimulate blood flow and decrease tissue tightness.
Take care of yourself while you’re travelling and you’ll enjoy yourself more when you arrive.