Back Pain during Travel

While traveling can be a fun experience, for many people it also can be a daunting and uncomfortable one. Cramped conditions on airplanes and other forms of mass transit, or even just the stress of being confined to a car for long periods of time, can make for an unpleasant route from Point A to Point B.

For people who have slipped discs, ruptured discs, sciatica, disc protrusion and other forms of back pain, travel can be nearly unbearable. Because of their pain, people with these conditions may skip long-awaited
vacations, or may feel extra stressed at work due to their inability to travel.

If your back pain has kept you from traveling, this article will show you some ways to possibly alleviate your pain while in transit.

Before your trip

When traveling with back pain, preparation can be half the battle. Here are some steps you can take to plan for a pain-free trip:

  • Consult your physician, and make sure that he or she endorses your decision to travel. Ask if he or she has any specific recommendations for medication or other aids that might increase your comfort while traveling.
  • Purchase travel insurance. That way, if you have any last-minute pain emergencies, you’ll be able to get your money back.
  • If you are traveling by plane, request to be seated in a row with extra leg room (usually the first row and the emergency row of a coach cabin). If possible, consider upgrading to a first class seat for increased comfort.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Be especially sure not to over-pack items that must be carried on the trip.
  • Avoid strenuous activities that may worsen your condition in the days leading up to your trip.

During the trip

Here are some strategies to incorporate on the day you travel to minimize back pain:

  • Ask for assistance with luggage whenever possible. Don’t risk a strain by attempting to carry too much.
  • Stretch carefully and thoroughly prior to departure. If you’re waiting to board a plane or other confining form of mass-transit, walk around the gate waiting area to ensure your muscles are limber prior to boarding.
  • Be careful to sit with correct posture. Try to keep your back straight, your shoulders down and relaxed and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. You may wish to use pillows to help support your neck or to prop your lower back in an uncomfortable seat.
  • If possible, stand and stretch gently at least once an hour.
  • If you’re traveling by car, take frequent breaks. Trade off driving duties with a partner if you can.

If bulging discs, facet disease, failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) or other spinal conditions are making travel difficult for you, contact Laser Spine Institute for information on how our advanced, minimally invasive procedures can help you reclaim your life .