Tips for easing back pain during travel

While traveling can be a fun experience, it also can have daunting and uncomfortable moments for many. 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 contribute to a stressful journey.

For people who have back pain related to a spine condition such as a herniated disc or spinal arthritis, travel can be nearly unbearable. Because of their pain, people with these conditions may skip long-awaited vacations, or miss important business trips.

If your back pain has kept you from traveling, or you are concerned about an upcoming trip, the following tips can help ease your symptoms so you can have a more comfortable journey.

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 doctor and make sure you are physically cleared to travel. Ask if he or she has any specific recommendations for medication or other aids that might increase your comfort while traveling.
  • If you are traveling by plane, request to be seated in a row with extra leg room, such as 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.
  • Perform gentle stretches prior to departure. If you’re waiting to board a plane or other confining form of transportation, walk around 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. Try using pillows to support your neck or prop up your lower back if the seat is uncomfortable.
  • 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 chronic pain related to a spine condition is making travel difficult for you and conservative treatments have been exhausted, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can tell you more about our minimally invasive spine surgery and how it can help you get your life back from pain.

Ask for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.