Why You Should Bring Two Tennis Balls and a Sock on Your Next Road Trip or Long Flight

Your back will thank you.

Love to hit the open road for wide-open adventures? Us too. Hate the back pain that can come with it? Same.

Luckily for all of us, professionals like Laura Coleman, a structural kinesiologist and personal trainer, are willing to share the best tips and tricks to avoiding back pain on a long-haul drive. And according to Coleman, all it takes is a few handy tennis balls. 

“Here’s something I tell my clients when they’re traveling or getting in their car,” Coleman enthusiastically explains while sitting in the front seat of a car. “Take two tennis balls, put them in a sock. Take that sock, put it in the middle of your back.”

Coleman notes that it doesn’t really matter where on your back as long as it’s between the bottom of your shoulder blade to the top of the hip. 

Next, she says to “dig in” and “use it when you’re driving” as it helps to “break loose the middle of your back, which gets super tight because you’re stuck sitting, especially on a long trip.” As a bonus,

This hot tip can also work on your next long-haul flight too, she said.

This tip works thanks to the magic of acupressure, which Very Well Health explains, is “a practice of traditional Chinese medicine that is similar to acupuncture, except that it uses fingertip pressure instead of needles.”

Very Well Health notes that acupressure has been shown to help with an array of ailments from motion sickness to insomnia and, in this case, muscle tension and pain. And there’s plenty of science to back up the claims too. A 2006 study published in The BMJ compared two groups of patients, asking one to take part in physical therapy and one to self-administer acupressure for one month. It concluded that pain was “significantly lower in the acupressure group than in the physical therapy group” by the end of the research period.

And really, what have you got to lose? You can pick up a three-pack of tennis balls for about $3 on Amazon and give it a go on your next long-distance journey — and can thank Coleman later in her Instagram comments.

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