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Travel Can Be a Pain In Your Back

Traveling can be rough on the body. Whether you are traveling alone on businessor on your way to a sunny resort with your family, long hours in a caror an airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore.

"Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body," says Dr. Scott Bautch, immediate past president of the American Chiropractic Association's (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. "Even if you travel in the most comfortable carrier opt to fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow. One of the biggest insults to your system from prolonged sitting is the buildup of pressure in the blood vessels in your lower legs. Contracting and relaxing the muscles helps the blood flow properly."

Dr. Bautch and the ACA suggest the following tips and advice to fight the pains and strains of travel before they occur.

Warm Up, Cool Down

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.

In the Car

  • Adjustthe seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortablypossible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Placefour fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If youcannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need tore-adjust your seat.
  • Considera back support. Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk oflow-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support shouldbe between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
  • Exerciseyour legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue ordiscomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Countto five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles,then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, makingsure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • Tominimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel atapproximately 3 o'clock and 7 o'clock, periodically switching to 10o'clock and 5 o'clock.
  • Donot grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip toimprove hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms,wrists and hands.
  • Whilealways being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focalpoint while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tensionheadaches.
  • Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.

In an Airplane

  • Standup straight and feel the normal "S" curve of your spine. Then userolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit inyour seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltlineand lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and theheadrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets toraise your buttocks a little.
  • Checkall bags heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight. Overheadlifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reducethe risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags,stand right in front of the overhead compartment so the spine is notrotated. Do not lift your bags over your head, or turn or twist yourhead and neck in the process.
  • Whenstowing belongings under the seat, do not force the object with anawkward motion using your legs, feet or arms. This may cause musclestrain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead,sit in your seat first, and using your hands and feet, gently guideyour bags under the seat directly in front of you.
  • Whileseated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation andavoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and moveyour knees up and down. Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under yourseat.
  • Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.

Safe Travel For Children

  • Always use a car seat in a car when traveling with children below the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds.
  • Askthe airline for their policy on child car seat safety. Car seats forinfants and toddlers provide added resistance to turbulent skies, andare safer than the lap of a parent in the event of an unfortunateaccident.
  • Makesure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child. Anewborn infant requires a different seat than a 3-year-old toddler.
  • Carseats for infants should always face the rear. In this position, theforces and impact of a crash will be spread more evenly along the backand shoulders, providing more protection for the neck.
  • Carseats should always be placed in the back seat of the car-ideally inthe center. This is especially important in cars equipped with airbags. If an air bag becomes deployed, the force could seriously injureor kill a child or infant placed in the front seat.
  • Makesure the car seat is properly secured to the seat of the vehicle and isplaced at a 45-degree angle to support the head of the infant or child.

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We value our patients' experience at Stamford Sports & Spine. If you are currently a patient, please feel free to complete the following Client Experience Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is in Adobe Acrobat format, and requires the free Acrobat Reader to view.

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Dr. Andrew Zomick & Dr. David Avallon

I have been coming to Stamford Sports and Spine for almost 10 years. I am active and have unfortunately been in a few car accidents. The care and treatment offered at Stamford Sports and Spine is world class and without them I would be living with an inordinate amount of pain and discomfort. Going to Stamford Sports and Spine has made my injuries manageable.

--James


Very good team of therapists. Flexible and available schedule. They helped get my teenage athletes back on the field in half the time.

--Shawn


I was experiencing some pain in my right shoulder and numbness down my arm to my hand. The range of motion in my shoulder was limited and I could not participate in volleyball. Dr. Z came to our office offering a free chair massage and a chance to come in for an evaluation. I did this and we worked out a treatment plan that included therapy and adjustments. I noticed in the first few weeks the pain subsided greatly in my shoulder. The numbness in the arm and hand were present but noticeably better. After three weeks, the range of motion in my shoulder was back to normal and the pain was gone. Now after one month of therapy the numbness in the arm is extremely better and I do not notice the symptoms as often as I used to. Coming into the office has helped tremendously. I can now play volleyball pain-free.

--Mary


After moving from London to the USA, two weeks into living in Stamford and having carried and unpacked a lot of heavy boxes my shoulder froze and I was in a great deal of constant pain. After finding Stamford Sports & Spine on the internet I made an appointment and the corrective programme S.S.S. put together for me meant that I immediately had some pain relief, and over the next few weeks the pain left completely. The programme is also ensuring that I am not only pain free but fully corrected so as this problem should not occur again. Very friendly staff and very detailed assessment programme that has ensured my full recovery.

--Laura


From my first visit to Stamford Sports & Spine I was extremely impressed and pleased with their service. Everyone including staff and doctors were very knowledgeable with their chiropractic services. I learned a great deal about my symptoms and overall care more than I expected. I have visited a few other chiropractors but none were as thorough as Stamford Sports & Spine. I was experiencing severe pain in my shoulder and arm and after a few visits my pain decreased substantially. I really appreciate all the services from the adjustments, rollers and even exercise room. I would highly recommend this facility to everyone. The entire staff are friendly, professional and just simply great!

--Sherri


Everyone was incredibly professional and helpful.  The staff is friendly and goes beyond what was expected to meet my needs and education me about my condition.

--Jon


Came in with severe and constant numbness and tingling in my legs and feet. The treatment worked quickly and resolved all of my symptoms. Thanks!

--Erik


My arms were falling asleep every night and had numbness and tingling during the day. I no longer have any of those symptoms during the day and have very rare episodes of pain at night due to my treatment here at Stamford Sports & Spine

--Eric


I came in for hip pain and stiff neck that also affected my right arm and hand. Using the relaxing rolling / traction bed and electrical muscle stimulation along with stretching and the adjustments my hip pain is gone. I can walk without sharp pains running up and down my legs. My neck range of motion has improved and my muscles are more flexible and less spastic.

--Karen


I had severe neck pain which was aggravated by a recent move. I have been coming to be adjusted for a few weeks now and not only has it helped with the neck pain I had been experiencing, but it has also made me feel better overall. I feel like I am able to sit up straighter, and my muscles are looser and less tense. I no longer have the intense pain I had once been experiencing

--Kim


When I came in my pain was a 10 out of 10. After just one week of care my pain went down to a 4 and has been improving ever since. The staff are very friendly and great educators. I learned a lot about my body and how to take better care of myself.

--Heidi


After a car accident,  I had to seek help for my upper back and neck pain. Slowly but surely I started to feel better, not immediately, but by keeping up with my visits with Dr. Q & Dr. Z. Now I can tell you that I feel leaps and bounds better, and am now looking forward to a pain-free summer.

--Rudy


I have been with Stamford Sports & Spine for more than a year now. I still remember how much pain I was in during my first session. I can now walk in and out without any aches or pains.

--Rick


When I first started going to Stamford Sports & Spine, my back had been seizing up with alarming regularity. After just a few months of working with Dr. Z and Dr. Q, I feel much more confident in my daily activities and have even been able to return to the gym.

--Dan


Thank you to Dr. Z, Dr. Q and the whole Stamford Sports & Spine team! For many years, I have been suffering from severe back pain that would sometimes keep me from going to work. The recurring pain would come and go and I couldn't figure out what I was doing to cause it. When I came to the office, Dr. Z took x-rays, did a complete examination and educated me as to what was happening and why. I began treatment and was given exercises to prevent these injuries from happening in the future. Since starting the treatment, I have seen a great improvement in my back. The pain is gone and I have an increased range of motion. Thanks again to the entire staff who are very friendly and always willing to accommodate my hectic schedule when I make appointments.

--Ron


The strabismus in my eyes caused a vertical deviation in my eye placement.  This resulted in my head naturally tilting to the right and throwing my muscular structure in my neck and shoulders off.  I had accepted the tilt and tightness as a way of life and a natural dis-figuration of my spine.  I almost didn't sign on for initial treatment.  After 3 visits I have already noticed a difference in the position of my head, my posture and regular comfort levels.  There is still a ways to go to rid that area of  a lifetime of dysfunction, but what a relief to know it's treatable and already improving.

-Jenn


I found Dr. Z and Dr. Q earlier in the week after experiencing some back pain and sciatica. After the consultation and x-rays I began therapy. After just 2 treatments I felt much better and had a significant reduction in discomfort in the area of concern. I am looking forward to continuing my treatment in an effort for long term recovery and a return to my heavy exercise routine.

--Tom


FANTASTIC. When I leave I feel like a whole new woman. I have been going there for my neck pain and headaches for about 1 year now; off and on and ever since I started treatment there my headaches have been reduced to one every few months instead of a few every month. The intensity of of my pain has also been reduced to almost nothing. The doctors seem to have a very friendly relationship with all of the patients and I feel very welcomed by the staff as well. Not to mention I love how they incorporate therapeutic massages into my treatment. I have since sent over many of my colleagues and family, who also share the same feelings. Thank you.

--Bri


I had a great experience. My low back pain is completely gone. I found the staff extremely knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly. I would highly recommend them.

--Jay F.

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