Hey, Grand County, try these tips for pain-free air travel | SkyHiNews.com

Hey, Grand County, try these tips for pain-free air travel

Mary Leone, OTR, CHTAlpine Physical Therapy & Wellness Center PCFraser, Colorado

Its not too early to start thinking about your fall and holiday vacation plans. Here is some useful advice to help you arrive at your destination healthy and pain-free. Suitcases and bag handling are a big risk area for painful back, neck, and shoulder injuries. Good lifting mechanics are important.When lifting items, use the legs to lift by bending at the ankles, knee, and hip joints. Once lifting, hold the load in close and make sure that your feet are securely planted and balanced. Distribute weight between right and left side with multiple bags. Alternate which side carries the heavier load if the weight load is not equal. Doing a little pre-planning when packing you may be able to distribute weight load evenly in bags and make the carrying easier. Consider bags that are on wheels and can be pulled. Many times smaller bags can be secured to the top of a rolling suitcase. Rolling carts that can be rented at the airport are also very helpful. Use backpacks or fanny packs for carry on items to avoid large bags, purses, briefcases that are carried on one side of the body. If you do carry a bag with handle or strap, alternate sides frequently to decrease shoulder/arm stress. On airplanes, placing heavy items into the overhead storage can cause stress on neck and shoulders. Plan ahead and check heavier bags. Do not rely on the flight attendants to lift a heavy bag for you as they also at risk of an injury. During long flights, use of a laptop computer can cause neck and arm pain due to the cramped position and limited adjustability of seating. Take a stretch break every 15 to 20 minutes. When resting/sleeping on an airplane, consider a neck/roll pillow designed to prevent the head from getting in an awkward position and causes abnormal pressure on the neck. Use the small airline pillows to make a support for your low back or to prop up a book so that you dont bend your head forward for long periods of time when reading. When waiting for connecting flights, take a walk in the airport to break up the monotony of sitting, improve circulation to the muscles, and just generally refresh yourself before the next leg of the flight. Do mini in-flight exercises to help increase circulation and change static positions. Exercises you might do without being an annoyance to your fellow passengers include: sitting pelvic tilts, overhead arm, wrist, and hand stretches, gentle mini-marching in place, ankle pumps, shoulder shrugs, head and neck stretches, tighten/relax exercises with arms, legs, abdominals. Air flight has been know to be linked with blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. Although it is rare it generally occurs with very long distance flights that require several hours of static sitting. Usually DVT occurs in the deep veins of the legs, and is more common in older people. Position changes and mini-exercises help by stimulating circulation. If you are prone to blood clots it may help to have a discussion with your medical provider before your trip.Have and safe and fun trip.

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