Chronic back pain can inhibit many activities. Traveling is one activity that millions of Americans enjoy. Many people who suffer from chronic back pain feel that they cannot travel as much as they would like to. Here are some travelling tips to make your vacation or business trip as pain free as possible.
Avoid Carrying Heavy Luggage
Get help with your luggage. Many people that are travelling strain their back while moving their luggage. Back strain most often occurs when we move out of our range of motion. Many airports and hotels offer porters to assist with luggage. If you must handle your luggage alone, make sure that you bend at the knees to lift your luggage. Distribute your weight evenly and carry heavy items close to your body. Do your best to pack light for your travelling adventure. Many items, such as toiletries, can be purchased once you arrive at your destination.
Move around when given the opportunity. The spine is not made for us to just be still. The spine needs movement. Movement will help your back from feeling stiff. Moving and stretching every 20 to 30 minutes will increase blood flow and help with pain. It is important that if you are travelling via airplane, that you follow the instructions of the flight attendant on duty.
Use Ice or Heat
Use an ice pack or a heated wrap. Ice and heat are known for their analgesic effect on back pain. It is important not to let the ice or heat rest directly on the skin. It can cause damage to the skin. Commercial heat wraps can last several hours. It is important to watch for signs of burns. Too much heat can also increase swelling. Use these products in the manner in which they are designed to be used.
Get A Doctor’s Note
Ask your doctor or orthopedic specialist for a letter about your back pain. This letter can be shown to the airline, generally the flight attendant, to assist them in accommodating your needs. They can also provide you with a wheelchair, if necessary, to help you on and off of the airplane. The airline may also be able to help you by assisting you through security if needed.
Bring Back Support
Bring support for your back when you know you will be traveling long hours. A back brace or even a pillow can provide much needed relief while travelling. These items are relatively inexpensive and can be found at any retail store.
Practice Good Posture
Pay attention to your posture. Good posture helps decrease pain. Sometimes, you will need to modify a seat with blankets or pillows to help you achieve a comfort.
Contact the airline and find out about what you can bring on the flight with you in regards to your medications. Over the counter and prescribed medications may be limited to a certain quantity. Know and prepare ahead of time.
Travelling with chronic back pain isn’t easy, but it can be done. Talk with your doctor or orthopedic specialist about any special accommodations they believe you need to heed while travelling. Rest often and enjoy your trip!
Robin is a blogger at Matthew Boes M.D. orthopaedic surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. She loves to travel.