July 2011
Back Friendly Travel
 Taking a vacation is fun and exciting, but the fun and excitement can end before you ever get to your destination if you don’t take care of your back. Here are some tips to help you become a back friendly traveler.

Low Back and Neck Support
Long trips may cause upper and lower back pain but lumbar and cervical travel pillows can offer relief. Inflatable pillows are preferred for air travel because they can be adjusted easily in your seat and lay flat in your carry-on bag or luggage.

Luggage Weight
Do you know how much your luggage weighs? Most people buy luggage to fit their travel needs but rarely consider the weight of the bag. Check the weight of the bag before purchase. A pound or two less can make a big difference once the bag is packed.

Smaller Bags
Traveling light is easier when your bag is small. Consider taking 2-3 small bags instead of one large bag on your trip. Also, consider using a backpack as your carry-on. Backpacks distribute weight equally to both shoulders to reduce back pain.  

Luggage Wheels and Handles
Luggage with smaller wheels can easily tip over causing shoulder, elbow, wrist, and low back pain. When purchasing wheeled luggage opt for the bigger wheels to improve the balance between you and your bag.

Wheeled luggage is the best way to travel but the handles are often too short. Consider purchasing a luggage handle extender to prevent twisting your low back and neck, over-rotating your shoulder and hyper-extending your elbow.


About the Author
Christine E. Wright, Ph.D., LOTR, has been an adult rehabilitation Occupational Therapist for 17 years and an academic educator for 11 years. 
Contact Information:
Christine Wright, Ph.D., LOTR
School of Allied Health Professions
Louisiana State University Health Sciences
Center – Shreveport
Shreveport, LA 71130
Self-Inflating Back Rest
Simply turn the valve, and this ultra-light lumbar pillow instantly fills with air. You can adjust it for perfect support in a car, airplane or restaurant and it easily deflates to fit in a purse or briefcase. Made of puncture-resistant nylon. In Sunset, Slate, Fern, Blueberry and Pomegranate. 
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