• How to Stay Pain Free While Traveling

    schlepping luggageI see a lot of people who are in a lot of pain after they’ve been traveling. When they come to my office, I help them get out of pain. If they let me know they’re going to be traveling or if they read my blog (like you are), they get helpful hints and tips on how to stay out of pain in the first place.

    In that vein, here are a few things you should consider packing on your next vacation:

    • Biofreeze (or other cooling gel) – This will help reduce pain that’s due to inflammation. This is best used when the area is hot, red, or a little swollen or squishy. Carry a small tube or a couple sample packets with you when you’re out for the day so you can apply at the first sign of low back, neck, or shoulder pain (or any other muscle ache, but those tend to be the most common.)
    • Sombra (or other warming creme) – Warmth is a great way to relax tight muscles. Carry a small tube or a couple sample packets with you when you’re out for the day so you can apply at the first sign of low back, neck, or shoulder pain from over use. Note: if the warmth makes the area feel worse, do not reapply; and never use heat when the area is hot, red, or a little squishy.
    • Microwaveable neck wrap – This one plays double duty. It can be used to support your neck if you sleep sitting up in your plane, train, or automobile seat, and it can be microwaved to provide warmth to sore neck muscles. Note: If heat makes your pain worse, stop using it and switch to ice. Also, never use heat when the area is hot, red, or a little squishy.
    • Ice bag – I’m  not talking about those blue gel packs that go in the freezer. I mean a reusable, refillable bag that you put real ice cubes in. While cooling gels are great when you’re on the go, once you get back to your hotel or B&B you’ll want to apply ice to any areas of inflammation (think low back, neck, shoulders, and feet). You’ll know that you don’t need the ice if it’s painfully cold when you apply it. The general rule for ice is this: 10 minutes on the neck, 15 minutes on upper/mid back, 20 minutes on the low back, and 15 minutes everywhere else.
    • Arnica cream (or gel, or ointment) – Arnica is the best thing around for muscle pain from overuse. Many of my athlete clients swear by it. If Arnica can relieve the pain of an athletic work out or competition, think how well it’ll ease the pain of your vacation and fun induced work out.
    • Small travel pillow(s) – These are a must have if plane, train, and automobile seats leave you feeling sore. You can use them to bolster you however you need: as an actual pillow if you sleep in your seat, as a support behind your low back, or as a support under the back of your hips to keep you sitting on your sit bones (instead of slouching or leaning forward).
    • Peppermint essential oil – For tired and sore feet nothing beats peppermint essential oil. You can mix a drop into some unscented lotion and rub into your feet for a quick fix. OR you can mix 3-4 drops in a 1/2 cup of epsom salt and add it to a bathtub filled 1/3 -1/2 way with either cold or warm water… Aaaaahhhh sweet pain relief without the need for a special footbath. It’s also a great remedy for many tension headaches. Just apply 1-2 drops on the base of your skull and upper neck area (make sure to dilute with unscented lotion if you have sensitive skin).
    • Lavender essential oil – A multi-purpose oil, lavender will work to keep insects at bay, help you sleep, and paired with peppermint is almost a sure-fire headache cure. (see 5 Must-Have Essential Oils For Your Next Vacation for more info on how to use EOs on vacation)

    Do you have something that you take on every vacation that helps keep you out of pain? If so, please share!  And of course, after your next vacation, let me know how these suggestions worked for you.

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