11 Tips For Back Pain Free Travel

As you hit the road for your upcoming vacation or holiday family get together avoid the low back pain that can come with the change in your routine.  Low back pain can put a damper on any vacation.  So here are 11 tips to avoid having back pain as you travel.

  1. Pack light. Packing 2 or 3 smaller bags instead of one large bag reduces the load you carry at one time. Remember that you will be lifting these bags in and out of your car, off airport baggage lines, into and out of overhead bins, up and down stairs at Aunt Edna’s house…..
  2. Lift with your legs. Bend your knees and lift using your legs. Try not to bend at your hips to lift luggage. Also avoid twisting while lifting.  Many times this is what increases back pain or causes an injury in the first place.  Using the foot pivot with your feet so that your whole body moves instead of just twisting your back will help.
  3. Ask for help from airline staff and your Uber driver. If you explain you have a back condition, most people are eager to help. You’d be surprised how other airline passengers are also more than willing to help as well. If your bags are light, it’s even less of a burden to ask.
  4. Aisle seat is best. Choosing the Aisle seat allows you to get up and down in the cabin more frequently. Changing positions every 30 minutes to an hour even just standing up for a minute or two can help keep your back pain from flaring up.
  5. Sit with support.Whether traveling by plane or going on a road trip, maintaining proper good spine alignment when seated is key. To maintain the natural curve in your lower back, use a folded towel or blanket or a lumbar roll.  Most people thing their car’s support is enough however adding a lumbar roll or rolled up towel will help even more.
  6. Get up and move.Sitting for long periods of time can stiffen our back muscles and put a strain on our spine. Getting out of your seat or your car at least once every hour can help. Once every 30 minutes is even better. Movement improves whole body circulation and blood flow is key to avoiding aching muscles and joints.  It helps prevent blood clots too!
  7. Stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors.If you cannot move out of your seat due to turbulence or any other issues stretch and move in your seat. This also improves circulations and can help reduce pain and pressure from your back.
  8. Bring cold and hot packs for quick pain relief. Despite taking the necessary precautions, your back pain may still because you issues while traveling just from the change in your routine. Ice and hot packs should be easily accessible while traveling. Disposable hot and cold packs are great for travel. Plus our homemade ice/cold pack is easily transportable and light weight.  See our blog about 4 tips to reduce back arthritis to make your own today!
  9. Get comfortable before your leave or take off. Take the time to make sure you’re comfortable with the proper adjustments or added equipment (like a lumbar roll) to your seat can make a huge difference.  The smallest irritant in the beginning of your trip can turn into raging pain later. Take your wallet, cell phone, or anything else in out of your back pocket. Sitting uneven is one easy way to avoid back pain flare ups.  Make sure your steering wheel and seat are set perfect for you if you are the driver.  Also sit as close to the steering wheel as possible without compromising your safety.
  10. Drink plenty of water.The low pressure and humidity conditions on planes tend to dehydrate the body. Drinking water and avoiding drinks that dehydrate will help your body, back, and spine stay in a happy state.
  11. Consult with your physical therapist about a month before your trip. When you are having pain or problems preparing for travel by learning about your body and how you need to manage or eliminate our issues is super important to having a great time! Your therapist will get all the details of your history of back pain, what increases and eases your pain, and he or she will give you movements you can do to keep your back loose, relaxed, and pain-free. Call Accelerate Therapy and Performance at 704-754-8300 to arrange for your consultation today!