It’s time to plan a summer vacation. Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, you may find these hints helpful in making your trip and your stay more comfortable.
First, when you travel by car, try using a back cushion or “lumbar roll” to support the inward curving part of your spine, which is called a “lumbar lordosis.” Find a roll that is comfortable. Someone weighing 150 pounds or more will need a larger, more dense roll than a lighter individual. Remember to lean forward and slide your buttocks all the way back in the seat before placing the roll across your waist at belt level. It should feel comfortable, not painful, and should make sitting up a pleasure by taking pressure off your neck and mid back.
For long motoring trips, avoid low sporty cars. They are much more difficult to get in and out of and don’t afford as much postural support. Vans and SUVs allow drivers and passengers alike to sit higher and more comfortably, and provide more legroom.
If you are flying, use those small pillows found in most overhead compartments. They make great lumbar rolls. Many airlines now tout extra legroom and wider seats, so if ticket prices are comparable, my choice is for comfort. Arriving at your destination without looking like a pretzel can go a long way toward an enjoyable vacation.
Vacationers usually fall into two categories: the relaxers and the adventurers.
If you are a relaxer and you are staying at a full-service resort or on a cruise, the lure of a massage to pamper your tired muscles and rejuvenate your body is tempting. After all, you’ve worked hard to get this vacation and like the commercial says, “You’re worth it.” A word of caution: Think twice about the resort massage. I have treated many patients who regularly receive great massages from local therapists, only to have their vacations ruined by an overly aggressive resort therapist who doesn’t know the meaning of the word gentle.
If you are an adventurer, pace yourself. Remember to use sun block, whether you are skiing or windsurfing, since snow and water both reflect the intensity of the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays.
If you aren’t working out regularly, you need to realize that suddenly going all out for 5 to 7 days will give you some very sore muscles or even an injury. Instead, gradually build up your activity level over 2 to 3 days.
Lastly, a good night’s sleep is essential for any vacation. If you have a neck problem, it is wise to pack your favorite pillow or neck roll. Most hotel resort pillows are far too thick and firm for the average person. Unless you need to use 2 to 3 regular-sized pillows at home, you will find yourself rolling up clothing to substitute for that thick pillow.
Beds are a hit or miss. If you have never had a back problem, you will usually be okay in even the worst bed. If, however, your back is problematic, ask you host about the types of available beds before you make reservations. If you speak with someone ahead of time, a room with a newer supportive mattress can usually be arranged. Remember, a mattress doesn’t need to be firm to be supportive.
Just a little thought and planning before you begin your vacation and the use of some common sense while you’re away can enable you to look back on a good time. Help you body and it will help you.