By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
As much as we love travel, there are days when our bodies can’t do anything but complain. However, that doesn’t mean we sit in a chair and pout “” what fun would that be? Many minor aches and pains respond to a little TLC, so give these tips a try when you’re feeling a little under the weather. It goes without saying that serious, persistent aches and pains need a doctor’s attention.
1. Move more
Make it a daily habit to find ways to move your body, even when traveling. Performing any activity in which you move your arms and legs not only eases the tension in your muscles, but it works well to lessen stress. You don’t need to jog or work out with weights, unless it’s already part of your day. Develop a daily stretching routine; stroll around the campground; or distract yourself with a pair of binoculars or a camera. Remember: if you move more, you’ll feel better.
2. Got a headache?
We recently heard that drinking a glass or two of Gatorade will relieve headache pain. Failing that, consider these tried-and-true remedies. Use a gel “ice pack” on your neck or head. Fifteen minutes of chilling eases most headaches. Or, you might try acupressure. Slide your fingers along your eyebrows until you locate the small indentation about halfway across. Now press that spot for a few seconds using a small circular motion. The nice thing about relieving pains by using pressure points is that you can do it anywhere, anytime.
3. Doing a slow burn?
For centuries, people have been using the gel of the aloe vera plant to cool the pain of minor burns. The gel from the inner leaves is quite soothing; just break off a leaf and squeeze the fresh gel directly on the burn (sunburns, too) for immediate relief. An aloe vera plant is easy to grow, even in a motorhome, and stands ready to ease pain at a moment’s notice. If you don’t have aloe vera aboard, soak the burn in cool water for 10 to 20 minutes. (Medical experts advise against home remedies such as applying butter or toothpaste to a burn.)
4. Can’t breathe through your nose?
When you are all stuffed up, try this home remedy. In a large pot, bring a quart of water to a boil, then add a tablespoon of salt. But don’t drink the concoction; instead, sit or stand near the pot and inhale the salty vapor. Be careful not to scald your face.
5. Sore throat?
Mix equal parts of vinegar (or lemon juice) and honey, and take one tablespoon of the concoction every four hours. That’s the official treatment. We prefer to add the lemon juice and honey to a cup of hot water and drink it as tea. How often? Drink as many cups of this as you please, unless your holding tank is nearly full. A neighbor added that she drinks a glass of pineapple juice whenever her throat is sore. So, if one remedy doesn’t work, try the other. If your sore throat persists, see a doctor, of course.
6. Achy muscles?
For muscle pain caused by overuse or an injury (or if you are simply out of shape), rest that body part and take over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Applying ice within the first 24 to 72 hours of the strain helps, too, but after that, heat usually is more soothing.
7. Tried massage?
Muscle aches from overuse usually respond well to massage. Draft your travel partner to do the work. You, of course, will be happy to reciprocate with a good back rub when your own pain lessens.
8. Warm up before exercising
Warm-up exercises include plenty of stretching. If you have chosen walking as your aerobic exercise, you can warm up by starting out at a slow pace for five or 10 minutes. Cool-down activities, such as stretching or walking at a slower pace, will round out your exercise period and bring your heart rate back to normal.
9. Arthritis acting up?
When joints are hot and inflamed, applying something cold can decrease the pain and swelling. The cold constricts blood vessels and prevents fluids from leaking into surrounding tissues, providing relief. Use a bag of frozen peas or corn as an “ice pack,” which can be placed on your screaming joints and molded to the shape of your body. Conversely, a warm bath also can ease the pain of aching joints.
10. Backache prevention
The first thing you should do is try to avoid any sudden movement or strain. If you are going to do some bending, make sure you perform some stretching exercises first. This way you know your back muscles are warmed up, rather than cold and stiff. If you exercise regularly to loosen up your back and the supporting abdominal muscles, you should be able to bend over without pain or injury.
11. Sleep on your back, if possible
Try placing an extra bed pillow under your knees. Yes, you can sleep that way “” we’ve tried it and it works for both of us. If you must sleep on your side, keep your spine aligned by placing the extra pillow between your knees.
12. Make a homemade heating pad
You don’t have to run the generator very long to operate this heating pad. Go through your clothes drawer and retrieve the oldest, most stretched-out sock (no holes allowed). Fill the foot portion of the sock with regular, not instant, rice. Close the sock’s open end by tying it into a knot or by stitching it tightly with your sewing machine. Either way, leave enough sag in the rice-filled sock so it can mold itself around the part of your body that you’re treating. When you need to soothe pain, heat the rice-filled sock in your microwave oven. Heating time may vary, so check after 1-1/2 minutes. When you decide the rice is hot enough, place the sock where it’s most needed. Caution: Since the sock material may get very hot, protect your skin from burning by placing a towel or other material between your skin and the hot sock.
13. Reduce stress
Stress busters come in many forms. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you enjoy, such as soaking in a hot tub, strolling through the campground, or playing with your dog. Or, if you prefer, try meditation. And we’ll pass on one final tip: avoid being around difficult people whenever possible.