Travel Tips for Those With Chronic Back PainSEMGeeks
If you’re planning on traveling in the near future but struggle with back pain, you’ll want to prepare for a comfortable trip. Flying, driving or sitting on a train can worsen your symptoms and set your recovery back. By leaving yourself enough time to plan, packing the essentials and talking to your back pain doctor, you can enjoy a successful trip that you’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
Book your flight early so that you can get the best seat choices. Ideally, choose an exit row seat because it offers plenty of leg room. It may even make sense to upgrade to first class for added comfort. If you’re driving, use a cushion or pillow that offers lower back pain relief. Sit up straight and keep a comfortable distance between you and the steering wheel.
Bring Along Your Medications
As long as you screen your medications, you can bring both prescription and non-prescription meds onboard. Keep these medications on hand so that you can take them if needed. We recommend staying ahead of the pain because it’s easier to manage this way. If you’re flying, take your medication one hour before your flight so that it gets into your system.
Create a Travel Schedule
It’s best to travel during off-peak times because the flights are less crowded so you’ll spend less time standing in line at check-in and security. If you can, check in online and give yourself plenty of time at the airport. If driving, avoid traveling during rush hour.
Request a Wheelchair
Sometimes, the only way to get around an airport with chronic back pain is in a wheelchair. Even if you don’t think you need it, consider it. Airports require lots of standing and walking, and this can be a recipe for disaster before your trip even starts. Under the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act, airlines must provide free wheelchair service to anyone who asks.
Take Stretch Breaks
Sitting for long periods of time on a train, plane or car can make your back feel stiff, worsening the pain. If traveling by car, take turns driving and make frequent stops to get out and stretch. You’ll likely need gas and bathroom breaks anyway. On a plane, train or bus, get up every 30 minutes to stretch or walk.
Pack a Comfort Kit
As with your medications, it’s important to have other essentials on hand to manage your back pain symptoms. Items to include are heat wraps, cold packs, soothing creams and a small pillow or foldable foot rest. Stress reduction activities are also important to have on hand, so consider packing essential oils, books, music and crossword puzzles as well.
Traveling is Possible with Back Pain
Back pain doesn’t have to stop you from traveling. By planning ahead, talking to your pain management doctor and packing the essentials, you can manage your symptoms and enjoy a relaxing getaway with friends or family. If you’re struggling with back pain but want to lead an active lifestyle, contact Jersey Rehab at one of our locations. We have a wide range of therapies we can try!