Do Vacations Actually Cause Pain?

Whether you’re flying across seas or driving a few hours in your car, you look forward to some well-earned time away. But could your vacation end up causing you some pain you weren’t expecting? The good news is that unless you have some sort of unfortunate accident, your vacation itself probably won’t leave you with any pain – but the act of traveling can have some unpleasant side effects you should try to avoid.

If you’re settling in for a road trip, you know you’ll be sitting for a while, which can be hard on the back and shoulders. Adjust the seat before you take off for maximum comfort and support: get close to the steering wheel so you don’t have to reach for it, place a pillow or towel at the base of your spine for lumbar support, and remove objects like a wallet from your back pocket – even if they’re small, they can misalign your spine. Don’t forget to pull over and take a break! Hours spent cramped and unmoving in a seat can leave you stiff and sore when you arrive at your destination.

Whether you’re traveling by plane, boat, or car, one tip that covers all of them: pack light! Lugging heavy bags through airports, heaving them into overhead compartments or trunks, it takes a toll on joints and muscles and exhausts you quickly. Avoid the temptation to overpack – most hotels, cities, and towns will have what you need in a pinch. If you can’t avoid heavy luggage, however, lift properly: bend at the knees, keep objects close to the body while carrying, and switch bags from the opposite shoulder from time to time, to distribute weight evenly.

Travel can also cause digestive issues. Constipation is a common one, as you’re not following your regular eating and exercise habits; drinking fewer fluids also causes things to back up. Be sure to eat healthy, high-fiber foods along with your traveling treats, and drink plenty of water. Another important thing is to stay active! Many people find that plane rides cause constipation, and the same can happen on tour buses and road trips; one reason for this is the length of time spent sitting, so get out and do some site seeing on foot or by bike to help keep things moving.


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