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Krista Wilkinson-Midgley/Intelligencer

Don't make the mistake of packing too much or packing restricted items. Instead, make a plan and streamline your packing for a hassle-free trip.

Take the By KRISTA WILKINSON-MIDGLEY Of The Edge While packing for a trip may strike fear into the hearts of some, it doesn’t have to be a stressful, last-minute operation. With a bit of careful planning you can ensure your suitcase is full of everything you need for a great trip and empty of everything that you don’t. After all, the last thing you want is to find yourself stuck thousands of miles from home (possibly in the middle of the ocean) without vital items such as glasses, prescriptions or your child’s favorite toy. It is also just as important to remember what not to pack. Bringing six pairs of shoes probably isn’t the best idea in an era when airlines are constantly reducing their baggage limits. Here are a few handy packing tips and tricks to help make your trip go as smoothly as possible. You’ll thank yourself later when you get to sleep an extra hour before heading for the airport knowing your suitcase is perfectly packed and ready to go. 1. Plan, plan, plan After 13 years of traveling back and forth to Europe, I will tell you from experience that it is nearly impossible to make up a list in

your head of what you should pack for a big trip. You’ll only end up forgetting something. Start planning days or weeks in advance and list everything you think you will need for each day that you will be gone. Think about your itinerary and what activities you’ll be doing. Will you be going to a formal dinner or trekking through the wilderness? Then go back and cross off anything from your list that seems unnecessary. 2. Check your airline’s baggage requirements Next to remembering your passport and wallet, this is probably the single most important thing you should do. A decade ago international travelers could check two bags up to 72 pounds each plus a carry-on. Not anymore. Baggage is big business for airlines these days with hefty fees for additional bags or excess weights. Be safe and double check your airline’s baggage policy before you go. 3. Visit the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) website These are the people who will ultimately give your bags a thumbs up or thumbs down so it’s worth knowing in advance what is allowed and what isn’t. For example, all carry-on bags should satisfy the 3-1-1 rule

out of packing for liquids. This means that all liquids or gels should be stored in 3.4 ounce (100 ml) bottles or smaller and bottles should be kept inside one quart-sized clear, plastic, zip-top bag. One bag is allowed per traveler. I learned this one the hard way. My husband and I found ourselves frantically trying to make room in our checked bag upon finding out that the bottle of Chianti we’d just bought from the Pisa airport’s duty free shop wasn’t allowed in our carry-on. Live and learn as they say. Find out more about TSA restrictions at www.tsa.gov. 4. Make it fit During my early years of packing I usually just folded everything and placed it neatly in my suitcase. Then my sister, who spent four years in the Navy, taught me to roll my clothes instead. You’ll be amazed at how much more stuff you can fit. My sister also claimed this method would help reduce wrinkles although I never found that to be the case. I may not have been rolling items tight enough to get the wrinkles out, but I still appreciate the extra space rolling provides. 5. Keep all essential items handy Remember to pack everything you consider a must-have in your carry-on bag. This

includes passport, wallet, glasses, medicine, diapers, baby formula or breast milk and important documents like your travel insurance policy. If you must bring expensive jewelry, then either wear it or keep it safely tucked away in your carry-on where you can keep a close eye on it. 6. When it doubt, leave it out Do you really think you’ll need five different pairs of jeans while you’re gone? Pick one favorite pair plus a pair of slacks or khakis and you’ll do fine. The same goes for shoes. Bring one good pair of walking shoes plus one nicer pair for going out. Tops should include a combination of five basic long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts for easy layering plus one heavier item like a sweater or fleece. In his guidebook “Rick Steves’ Great Britain,” travel expert Rick Steves recommends packing the minimum of items for maximum use and layering as much as possible. “Pack light to enjoy the sweet freedom of true mobility,” states Steves. For more tips on planning or packing for a trip, check out these helpful websites: www.tsa.gov/travelers www.ricksteves.com www.frommers.com

Do you suffer from lower back pain? Nearly everyone at some point experiences lower back pain. For some, it is just a twinge of pain while you are picking up a child. For others, it is a constant ache that may begin to interfere with your day to day activities. Lower back pain is the number one cause of missed work days. Lower back pain can be acute, meaning it only lasts for a few days, or chronic, lasting more than 3 months. Chronic low back pain can become increasingly more painful and harder to get rid of, if left untreated. The lower back is made up of an elaborate system of bones, muscles, nerves, discs, and blood vessels. Your low back is made up of 5 bones, also called vertebrae that help house the spinal cord. The nerves that come out of the spinal cord from the low back run throughout the lower half of the body. The discs are made up of cartilage and act as shock absorbers for the spine. They separate the bones in your back allowing for proper movement of the spine. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons attach to the spine and also help with movement. What are the risk factors for low back pain? Low back pain is more prevalent in

Dr. Nikole Hunter people ages 30-60 years old. As we age, we are at an increased risk for arthritis and spinal degeneration. Women and men are equally affected by low back pain. If you are usually a bit of a couch potato then suddenly tried to run a 5k, you are more likely to suffer from low back pain. Jumping into any strenuous activity that you are not used to doing will automatically increase your risk for low back pain. There are many different types of low back pain. Each type of low back pain presents in a different way. Facet Syndrome is caused by an irritation of the joints of the low back. The pain is usually a dull ache, but can also be sharp at times. The pain can sometimes refer to the groin, upper thighs, and/or buttocks. It tends to become worse when standing or leaning back. Sciatic pain is most often described as pain that radiates down the back of the leg. There can also be associated numbness and tingling. This happens when the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed.

Injuries to the discs of the low back are usually associated with a general pain in the low back. If the disc is pushing on a nerve, shooting pain down into the legs may occur. You may experience numbness or tingling down into the legs as well. Disc injuries can occur when there is a twisting motion in the low back or when you bend over to pick something up. Sacroiliac pain is caused by a misalignment of the sacroiliac joints, a joint in the pelvis. Pain from the sacroiliac joints is described as an ache that you would feel more on one side of your low back. This common misalignment can occur due to stepping off a curb or walking on an uneven surface. Arthritis can also cause low back pain. Arthritis causes the joint to stop moving properly. Low back pain due to arthritis often feels stiff and painful more in the mornings or after a long day. How can you prevent low back pain? Spinal health, just like dental health, is important to your overall health. Having the proper posture is essential to preventing low back pain. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure your chair has

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plenty of back support. If your job involves a lot of lifting, make sure you bend at the knees instead of at the waist and lift with your legs. Another good way to prevent low back pain is to strengthen your core. Your core includes muscles in the area of your belly and mid to low back. Strengthening these muscles can improve your posture and increase stability. This decreases the likelihood of injury to your low back. What happens if you already have low back pain? Chiropractic care has been shown to be effective in relieving and preventing low back pain. Chiropractic adjustments help restore mobility to your joints, decrease tension in muscles, and alleviate pain. Your chiropractor will take a detailed history and perform an examination in order to determine the type of low back pain you suffer from. At that time, treatment options will be discussed with you. To determine if chiropractic care could help you manage your low back pain, or to speak with a chiropractor in the Glen Carbon/Edwardsville area, call Dr. Nikole Hunter at 692-0000. Dr. Hunter is a board certified chiropractic physician.

On the Edge of the Weekend

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070413 Edge Magazine  

THE EDGE OF THE WEEKEND is a product of the Edwardsville Intelligencer, a member of the Hearst Newspaper Group. THE EDGE is available free,...

070413 Edge Magazine  

THE EDGE OF THE WEEKEND is a product of the Edwardsville Intelligencer, a member of the Hearst Newspaper Group. THE EDGE is available free,...