Finding Relief from Vacation Pain

August 8, 2016

Vacation time is here with many people taking active vacations that involve kayaking, biking, swimming, hiking, etc.  It is not uncommon for vacationers to over-exert themselves and experience vacation related pain.  What are some tips and techniques to ensure a pain-free vacation?

Just the process of traveling to a vacation spot can be painful with long bouts of sitting in an airplane or car set. “To avoid bloating and digestive troubles, ask the airline in advance for special dietary considerations such as meals without sodium, white flour, sugar and butter,” says Eric Braverman, M.D., the founder and president of PATH Foundation NY, a non-profit research organization devoted to brain health, and medical director of PATH Medical, where he treats patients for addiction, nutrition, pain, symptoms of aging, and neurological disorders.

Carolyn Dean, MD ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association.

Carolyn Dean, MD ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association.

“Vacations can be stressful and stress is a factor in pain,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND is a stress management expert, author of “The Magnesium Miracle” and on the Medical Advisory Board of the Nutritional Magnesium Association. “Magnesium deficiency creates an increase in a body chemical called substance P, which is responsible for pain perception,” says Dr. Dean. “More pain is experienced when you are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is known as the anti-stress and anti-inflammatory mineral and yet over 75% of Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance of this important mineral.”

Dr. Braverman

Dr. Braverman

If people are not in the best of shape, should they try sports activities they don’t normally do on a vacation like kayaking, biking, swimming, hiking, etc.?  “Swimming is great, definitely the number one option, because there is no joint pain,” says Dr. Braverman. “Biking is always risky because you could hurt your back,” says Dr. Braverman. “Kayaking is hard on the shoulders. Hiking can give you cramps but is still easier on most bodies than biking and kayaking. I’d put hiking at number two, right behind swimming in terms of safe sports that are least likely to end in injury and ruin your vacation.”

“Vacation activity can also create muscle fatigue and pain,” says Dr. Dean. “Magnesium relaxes muscles and as a key electrolyte prevents muscle cramps and can relieve muscle cramping when experienced. Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body. Magnesium citrate powder is a highly absorbable form that can be mixed with hot or cold water and sipped at work or at home throughout the day.”

Consider OTC Topical Medication – “With a topical, you can deliver much less medicine to the body because you’re applying it directly at the site of pain,” says Dr. Aristotle Economou, Beverly Hills wellness doctor and author of Change the Way You Heal: 7 Steps to Highly Effective Healing. “The Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch and the Salonpas Arthritis Pain Patch are the first topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) approved through the FDA’s rigorous New Drug Application process which is the same process used to approve prescription medicines.”

Eugene Sims

Eugene Sims

“The number one tip to stay pain free during a vacation holiday is to remember to stretch,” says Eugene Sims, a physiotherapist, naturopath and author of “How I Achieved Freedom from Arthritis.” “Muscles in excessive tension are responsible for more pain and suffering than is often realized. The severity of pain from a muscle in spasm can equal that of someone passing a gallstone.”

Sims says there are three things to directly help stretch the muscles. “Self-stretch like yoga can be an excellent way to investigate and address muscle imbalances and will help you to understand more about how your body works. Second, massage therapy and physical therapy can quickly highlight tight areas as well as immediately provide some relief to these areas as well. Soaking in a hot bath or hot tub are both excellent ways to help soften muscles,” says Sims.

While on vacation, don’t forget to eat right.  “Aim to eat four to six servings of vegetables daily, avoid carbohydrates, fatty, fried and canned foods as well as sodium, white flour and processed food,” says Dr. Braverman. “Order fish 3-4 times per week when dining out.”

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