5 Tips for Road Trips: Don’t Leave Your Health At Home

Spring is almost here. And with it, we’re all ready to hop in the car and hit the road in search of adventure. Before you head out on a long (or even short) road trip, you should be mindful of your health and take steps to prevent injury or re-injury while away from home.
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Spring road trip tips

Step #1: Take extra precautions.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even just thinking of one or two things you can do that will help you avoid reinjury will be key in keeping you feeling good during your trip. This is particularly important if you’re currently on a chiropractic treatment plan. We don’t want to see your improvement hampered by a car trip (but we also want you to manage your stress and go on vacation)! Use common sense, and take precautions such as the following:

  • Warm up before getting in the car and take turns with your driving partner so you can give your neck and your back a break from stress or too much muscle engagement
  • Stop and stretch if you feel (tingling or shooting) pain. Helpful exercises include: chin tucks and seated twists (placing one leg over the other, and bend down with your shoulders in the opposite direction).
  • Keep your shoulders level—especially if you tend to drive with one hand.


Step #2: Stay mindful.

Just like you’d pull over for a cop when their lights and siren go off, know your own body’s limits and take a break when you get warning signs. Better yet—take breaks before your body gives you a warning sign. Sit up straight in your seat, and keep your back aligned with the back of your seat. And always, always, always lift luggage with your legs while engaging your core, NOT your back. Did we mention to lift with your legs? Additionally: Stress can cause muscles and areas of the body to stiffen up and displace nerves and small bones that cause pain. Make sure you have a plan of how to relax and how to keep your body tension in check.


Step #3: Be prepared.

When in doubt, bring it along. It’s okay to pack light, but when it comes to preventing pain or making sure your body feels good at the end of your trip, it’s vital to bring a few things from home. Think: ice packs for pain, a good lumbar support pillow, and anything else to keep you comfortable. Beyond being comfortable, be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Your body is 80% water—keep that percentage steady! Since we know stress management is a key part of trips and vacations, our office can send you with prepared ice packs, sample size CBD creams, lumbar supports, cervical supports, stretching sheets or anything else you may need to stay limber away from home!


Step #4: Know your body.

Seeing a chiropractor before your road trip can help you both create a plan to keep your body on the road to recovery or within healthy parameters to sustain your comfort during a long car trip. Stress points can be checked out before they become an issue. Sitting in a car for hours can increase tension on different areas of your body, or create additional tension that travels up the back and to other areas in the body. An adjustment after your trip can help you keep that vacation feeling going for a little while longer through release and realignment—allowing more motion in transitional areas within the spine that store your stress. Please note: if you are suffering from chronic lumbar or cervical pain, we recommend avoiding long car trips. Persons with significant injuries or disc ruptures causing unmanageable pain are also not a good candidate for a road trip.


Step #5: Call for backup.

You’re part of the way through your road trip and your neck is in pain. Your low back is aching. You feel out of sorts. Send us your zip code and we’ll respond with information on chiropractors near you that use the arthrostim device to gently adjust your body. It’s almost like we’re on the road with you. We’re able to provide these chiropractor names via a referral system based on zip codes with providers that use the Arthrostim specifically. Shephard Chiropractic Clinic can call in for them if needed, to get you set up and we’ll fax any necessary files that the provider may need.


When the open road calls, we want you to be able to confidently respond. Take precautions, know what’s best for your body, and be prepared for just about anything. Take the road trip you’ve always wanted to go on, and pack up a little common sense in your glovebox: take breaks, stretch, and have a driving partner!

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