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Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

Many people travel during the summer to spend time with their family and friends. While visiting loved ones that live out of town can be exciting, it can also be a daunting experience for those with back pain. If you suffer from back pain, you know that long trips in a car or airplane can aggravate your back and make summer travel a stressful experience. Dr. Keenen at Pacific Spine has compiled this list of spine care tips and tricks to help you reduce and avoid additional back pain as you travel.

Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

Airplane Travel Tips

When it’s time to schedule your flight, try to select one at a time when there will be fewer people on board so that you can lie down across the seats. You can contact the airline before booking a flight and ask them to provide you with some insight on when flights will be filled with less people. The airline can also help you arrange wheelchair transportation or a shuttle service to take the stress out of moving around the airport and carrying your luggage.

If you have the opportunity to choose your seat in advance, try to sit in an aisle seat so that you can easily get up and move around when necessary. Make sure to bring plenty of water, pain medication and a pillow in order to stay hydrated, relieve pain, and minimize lower back pain pressure. Throughout the flight, you should stretch your lower and upper body as often as possible to improve your circulation. It’s also a good idea to take off your shoes so that you can flex your toes and rotate your ankles.

Car Travel Tips

Since the tiniest irritant at the start of your road trip can lead to extreme back pain hours later, you should get comfortable in the car the moment the trip starts.  For additional back support, bring a pillow to place between the car seat and your lower back. Special tripod seats from local recreation seats are also a good way for you to comfortably sit still throughout the trip.  

Make sure that you are not sitting on your bag, phone, wallet or any other item that may twist your back. If you will be driving, try to sit as close to the steering wheel as possible to put less stress on your spine, shoulders, neck, and wrists. In addition, be sure to make consistent rest stops a priority so that you can get out of your car and stretch.

Don’t allow the challenges of back pain to put a damper to your summer travel plans. By following the spine care suggestions above, you will alleviate back pain and enjoy a pain-free traveling season. For more tips on how to travel for the summer with back pain, contact Pacific Spine today.

  • Oregon Medical Association
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • North American Spine Society