Back pain: what to do during your trip

Four out of five French people will one day be affected by back pain. Traveling by plane, train and especially by car hurts your back, here are some tips if you suffer from herniated discs or lower back.

Dr. Charlotte Tourmente

Written on Up to date

Back pain: what to do during your trip
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Move more

This is the most important and most effective advice to combat back pain. The pain often leads to decreased activity, leading to a decrease in muscle strength in the back and abdomen.

Muscle strengthening is therefore recommended to reduce pain. Exercising an adapted physical activity is recommended all year round. Also, remember to stretch before each exercise.

To help you, the health insurance site Ameli.fr offers an app called Activ’Dos. She is full of tips to move more and take care of your back with personal coaching!

By car, by train, we move too!

When you travel, remember to move too. A break is essential every 2 hours by car: Take the opportunity to walk a bit. In an airplane, even if the hallway is narrow, get up and take a few steps. Do the same on the train if the trip is long.

Avoid long car rides as much as possible, which do not help with your back pain. Adjust your position thanks to the adjustment of the seat and place the headrest at eye level. Use a support pillow to support your back and try to keep a 90 degree angle between your legs and your back. The lumbar belt is a back-up solution that should not be used too often.

Also move when you sit. In your seat, relax your upper back with small shoulder movements (rotate them, raise them, and lower them). Contract your abdominal muscles as you grow taller to stretch your back.

Do not sit for too long

Sitting is bad for the spine: the discs between the vertebrae are compressed. Whether you work or watch television, remember to get up regularly. The working position is dangerous for the back and must be absolutely adjusted.

Beware of the sofa where we tend to bend and bend our backs … Sit with your back straight, both feet on the floor, even if that means you have to tickle a pillow behind your back.

Adopt the right movements on a daily basis

Everyday life is full of traps for the back! Who does not bend down to pick up the trash can under the sink, to sweep or iron? We “break our backs in two” without realizing it.

On the contrary, it is essential to adjust your position well for each activity. Bend your leg in a lunge forward instead of leaning forward, and squat if your knees allow it. When shopping, divide their weight between two bags to balance the load, and lean down to fill and unload the bags.

When you sleep, the ideal position is on your side, with a pillow between your legs. If you prefer the supine position, bend one leg to the side and stretch the arm to the same side; on the back, place another ear under the neck or under the hole in the back to reduce the hollow.

To pass the diet, it is advisable to stand straight and spread your legs slightly, even if it means swinging slightly from one leg to the other. Choose a broom with a long enough shaft so you do not have to bend. The ironing board must also be well placed, approx. 15 cm from elbow height.

Change your mattress and drop your high heels

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. The quality of the mattress is therefore crucial for the back! Choose it neither too hard nor too soft, depending on your sensitivity.

Wearing high heels causes a curvature of the back. Very flat shoes, such as flip flops or sandals, are not recommended. Choose shoes with a small heel or sneakers.

“Exercises to prevent back pain”, column by Nordine Attab, sports coach, from 17 April 2019

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