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Tips for Travelers With Back Pain

Tips for Travelers With Back Pain

If you have chronic back pain, you can sometimes feel as though your life is limited by your pain. Especially if you enjoy frequent traveling, you may wonder if you have to just give up on travel altogether.

You definitely don’t have to stop traveling just because you have back pain. But you do need to take some precautions in order to travel comfortably. The physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center in Encino, California, offer these tips for comfortable and safe traveling when you have back pain.

Pack lightly

The first step to managing your back pain while traveling takes place while you’re packing your bags for the trip. Regardless of how long your trip will be or what your activities will include, aim to pack as lightly as possible. 

Anything you pack has to be lugged around, even if it’s just from your trunk to a hotel room. If you have more vigorous plans — whether it’s hiking trails in a park or even just trekking across crowded airports — pack extra lightly. In general, you don’t need as many clothes as you think you do.

Bring pain relief

Don’t forget to pack pain relievers. In addition to your usual over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, you may find relief from heat patches. These patches are available over the counter and can provide relief when applied to your lower back.

You may also wish to bring a lumbar support pillow. This can make the experience of sitting behind the wheel or in an airplane seat more comfortable.

Lift your luggage safely

When you need to get your luggage from one place to another, use safe lifting and carrying techniques. This includes bending at your knees and using your legs to lift luggage, rather than using your back.

You can lift luggage into overhead bins in stages, such as first lifting it to the back of your seat and then lifting it up to the overhead compartment. Use both hands when lifting your suitcase into the trunk of your car.

Avoid standing in lines when possible

If you’re traveling by plane, the lines to get into the airport can be long and grueling. Save yourself some time — and the back pain that often comes with standing — by managing your flight check-in and luggage handling online. 

If you’re planning on seeing any sights, find out if you can buy advance tickets online as well rather than waiting in the ticket booth line. Many event and exhibit tickets can be purchased online and displayed on your cellphone when you arrive.

Take frequent breaks

Regardless of how you travel, try to take time to stretch every 20-30 minutes. Movement stimulates blood flow, which keeps your back muscles from stiffening up. If you’re traveling by car, plan more frequent stops. Even if you’re traveling by plane and don’t have many opportunities to get up and walk around, make a point to stretch.

Also, stretch your hips and legs. You can develop stiffness in your hip flexors and hamstrings if you spend too much time sitting in one position.

Be aware of your posture while traveling as well. Be mindful to keep your feet on the floor and keep your back aligned. 

Book a lie-flat business or first-class seat on long flights 

Sitting upright for long periods of time puts excess pressure on your spine. For long-haul flights (especially overseas), having a seat that can recline to a full lay-flat position provides an opportunity to lay down and relieve pressure on your back in addition to more room for stretching. If your budget permits, lie-flat seats can be a travel game-changer for people with back pain. These upgraded seats can sometimes be confirmed using miles if you participate in a frequent flier program. 

Don’t let back pain stop you from traveling

The pain management specialists at Glaser Pain Relief Center can coach you in stretching and exercise techniques to help you prevent pain and even injury. We can develop a customized treatment plan to help you manage your back pain in everyday life as well as while you’re on the road.

If you’re struggling with back pain, call the providers at Glaser Pain Relief Center today or request an appointment online.

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