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Stellar Physical Therapy
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We have recently added over 30 new articles to our patient resource library including new sections about Volleyball, Football and Weightlifting

Featured Article: Easy Breezy Summer Travel Tips

Everyone needs a vacation to get away from the stress of daily life.  But cramped traveling can really ruin the whole thing.  Here are some things you can do on a long plane or car ride to make it more comfortable this summer.

Stretch out the kinks

Stretch whenever possible, at least every two hours.  If you’re taking a road trip, stretch your muscles whenever you stop for gas, food, or to use the bathroom. If you are on a plane, try to get up periodically to stretch.  Some good stretches for your legs, arms, back and shoulders are:
•    Stretch your arms in the air as high as possible
•    Bend down and touch your toes (or reach as far down your leg as you can)
•    Flex your calf muscles by going onto tip toes, one leg at a time.  

There are also some stretches you can do sitting in your seat:
•    Rotate your ankles (try spelling the alphabet with your foot)
•    Flex your feet by pointing your toes
•    Stretch your arms out in front of you or to the side, if possible
•    Shrug your shoulders – but do not hold
•    Rotate your neck   Move your neck from side to side, forward and back and rotate to left and right – do not do neck circles – Scott neck circles are bad, especially for any one with disc disease.

Keeping muscles loose reduces stiffness.  Moving and stretching also reduces the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis—a potentially dangerous blood clot in the leg that can occur in people who sit for long periods of time.

Comfy sitting

There are ways to sit that will reduce aches and pains.  Most car or airplane seats were not designed with good back support.  In fact, in a recent Spine Universe survey, people said the lack of lower back support was the worst thing about the seat.  There are many things that can be put in a car or airplane seat to prevent lower back pain.  A pillow, rolled up t-shirt, blanket or lumbar-support pillow should do the trick.

On a plane, try to get an aisle seat so you can stretch your legs into the aisle periodically. And if you can, get a seat in the emergency exit aisle—there is more leg room in that row.

If you are the driver for your road trip, before leaving, make sure the mirrors are adjusted properly so that your neck remains in a neutral position and you do not need to move much to see clearly in all the mirrors.  Adjust the seat so that your arms and legs are neither stretched to their full capacity nor bent too sharply.
 
But wait, there’s more

There are other things that can make you arrive happy and healthy.  Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and saying no to alcohol.  Eat on your regular schedule—don’t skip meals!  Listen to relaxing music to reduce stress, which is a common cause of muscle tightness.  

Don’t arrive at your travel destination too sore to enjoy your vacation.  Follow these simple steps so that you arrive ready to have fun.

References:
1.  Ferrari E, Chevallier T, Chapelier A, Baudouy M.  Travel as a risk factor for venous thromboembolic disease: a case-control study.  Chest 1999 Feb;115(2):440-4.
2.  Walker K.  The effect of flying on back and neck pain: survey results.  SpineUniverse.  Retrieved from http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/back-pain/effect-flying-back-neck-pain-survey-results on May 20, 2010.  


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