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JUNE 2008: Vacation from Aches and Pains

School's out and it's time for summer fun and relaxation. No matter where you may be headed, travel is necessary. In this month's theme, “Vacation from Aches and Pains”, we offer helpful hints to get you there comfortably.

The most important advice for all travelers is not to sit for prolonged periods. It may be a challenge to adhere to these words of wisdom if you're buckled in an airplane, but your whole body will appreciate a break from the seated position.

Stand, stretch and walk a few minutes if permissible. If traveling by car, take advantage of rest areas, or the local town's fresh produce market to get out and walk a bit.

Maintain good posture while seated. Keep your back straight and supported, neck properly retracted and feet flat on floor. Don't catnap in awkward positions.

When you arrive at your place of paradise, don't try to carry all the luggage in with one trip, unnecessarily overburdening your body. Acquiring sprains and strains within the first hour of vacation will make for a less-than-fun time. Bend your knees while lifting, don't lift huge over-packed luggage without help, and keep your carrying loads balanced on both arms. Use luggage with wheels or take the time to find and use a hotel cart.

The quality of mattresses and pillows is out of a vacationer's control for the most part, but you can bring along a good travel-size cervical pillow to maintain proper neck alignment during sleep. Lie on your side with a small pillow between your legs, or on your back with small pillow under bent knees. Never, ever sleep lying on your stomach.

If a sprain or strain occurs, applying ice within 24 hrs. of injury can be helpful. Wisely using correct body ergonomics can help make a vacation successful.


This hotel bed and pillows are way too soft. In addition, Goldilocks should always sleep on her back or side, never on her stomach.


Goldilocks is asleep in a great position: on her side with a pillow between her knees, and her head properly supported on pillow.

Another proper position in which to sleep is to lie on your back with legs slightly bent, supported with a pillow under knees.
We're always in a hurry to unload the car and get moved in. This vacationer is overloaded and unbalanced, possibly resulting in muscle strains.
Properly balanced carrying is easier on your body. This vacationer will be ready to hit the surf in good form!
Never bend from your back to reach and pull on heavy loads.
Things appear calmer! Slow down, use proper body mechanics by bending your knees and lifting. Ask for help if the load is real heavy.
We've all done it: fallen asleep in incorrect positions on long trips. At least the seat belt remained buckled!

Although the snoring is distracting, this traveler is napping with head and neck properly supported.

Poor posture in the driver's seat results in sore back and neck muscles, needlessly wearing out the driver. Don't forget to buckle up!
What a good time these two vacationers will have. Their bodies will be well rested. A great tip is to stop frequently on long trips to walk and stretch for a few minutes.
Your body likes to have a break from sitting in one position too long. Take advantage of rest areas and frequent stops to walk and stretch.
A slow, gentle back stretch is great for your back. Place hands (fingers pointing down) on sides of hips and slowly arch backwards a little bit.   Your back would appreciate lying horizontally for a few minutes with knees bent.
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