Reducing Pain During Holiday Travel


The holiday season is all about spending quality time with loved ones, however traveling during the holiday season and shopping for loved ones can be painful (literally speaking). Shopping and walking for long hours on hard concrete floors to find that perfect present for grandma or flying cross-country to see your favorite aunt, may be putting unnecessary pressure on your knees, lower back and shoulders. These aches and pains can definitely put a damper on your holiday spirit, however using these tips you can easily help mitigate the acute or chronic pain you may be feeling.

Pain on the Plane

Waiting in line at the airport, carrying heavy bags and long plane flights can wreak havoc on your neck, back, and legs. Air travel can create a whole host of other painful bodily aches and pains.  There are not many situations in which your body rests in a sitting position for such a long period of time with little to no movement.  Your neck and back are unsupported by traditional airplane seats and with only a small amount of legroom you could be at risk for blood clots in your legs. When was the last time you thought about exercising or stretching while spending 4 hours sitting?

Chronic Pain in Cars

Long car rides can be just as damaging as long plane flights.  If you are a passenger, many of the exercises done on a plane can be used in the car.  What if you are the driver?  Your arms and legs are in unnatural positions with little to no relief.  On a long drive make sure your back is supported.  If you usually recline the seat or sit far from the steering wheel you may want to adjust for a longer ride.  Keep your back straight and ensure your arms are comfortable so you are not pulling on your neck or back.  If you have chronic back pain, there are products you can buy to provide lumbar support.  Taking breaks during your long drive is extremely important.  If you start to feel pain, pull over and take a walk or do some common stretches.  Your health is more important than arriving on time.

Leg Pain in Long Lines

Part of the holiday season includes standing in long lines and walking for hours around crowded malls.  While searching for the perfect gift for your family and friends you may be damaging your legs and feet.  During your seemingly endless shopping trips, there are several things you can do to ease the pain.  Comfortable footwear is a must during holiday errands. Nike and New Balance offer sneakers designed specifically for walking that provide stability to the foot. Without the right footwear, you can put your feet at risk for blisters, bunions, or even plantar fasciitis, where the tissue between the heel and the arch becomes inflamed.  While standing in long lines you can perform standing stretches to keep the blood flowing and reduce back pain.  One easy and effective stretch is the standing hamstring stretch, which benefits the muscles on the back of the legs as well as the lower back. Simply place one leg in front of the other with your heel on the ground and toe pointing up. Bend your back leg and place your arms on the upper thigh for support. Hold this stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other leg. While walking around make sure you are going at a comfortable pace. Keep a look out for benches or chairs where you can take a break.  Sitting can relieve the pressure on your legs and feet, but be mindful of sitting too long.  Planning ahead and sticking to a list can also ensure that you are not walking or standing for too long.  Start your shopping early so you can do a few things per day instead of trying to get everything done all at once.

Keeping these tips in mind will certainly help you get through the holidays.  If you are still having pain or experience an increase in your acute or chronic pain, Pain Management & Injury Relief (PMIR) can assist you.  Our doctors can help relieve your holiday ailments with our specialized treatments.  Visit us out at or contact us at (877) PAIN-FIX.

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About Pain Management & Injury Relief

Pain Management & Injury Relief is a leading patient-centered pain management clinic in Southern California. Our goal is to help you achieve long-lasting pain relief. By utilizing the latest medical technologies and equipment paired with innovative procedures and treatments, our team can help you improve your quality of life.

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