Tips on Traveling with Back Pain

Tips on Traveling with Back Pain

The thought of traveling with back pain can be daunting for some and can turn an otherwise pleasant trip into a miserable one. Traveling can exacerbate chronic pain conditions and aggravate sore areas in your neck, spine and back, but there are a few things you can do to help relieve and prevent pain while traveling.

Ask for a doctor’s note

Sometimes a doctor’s note can still go a long way. Ask your physician to write a letter to the airline you are flying with to alert the flight staff of certain pain conditions you may have. He or she can also request special accommodations like upgraded seats with more leg room, extra cushions for support, and permission to get out of your seat to move about during the flight.

Provide support to your back during the flight

Lower-back supports, pillows and neck pillows are all great ways to give your back some extra support during a flight. A flight attendant may even be able to give you extra pillows upon request.

Contact the airline prior to your flight

In addition to your doctor’s note, you can also get in touch with the airline prior to your trip to inform them of any health conditions or limitations you may have. If you give them enough advance notice, they may be able to make special accommodations like wheelchair assistance, early boarding, enlisting airline personnel to carry and load your luggage, as well as special shuttles or elevator platforms.

Bring pain medication

Keep yourself prepared by keeping either an over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication with you while traveling. Take your medication an hour before your flight to give it time to process through your system.

Strategically schedule your flight

Some flights are more crowded than others. Do your best to avoid these by contacting the airline to find out which flights tend to be less crowded so that you have a greater likelihood to be able to stretch during the flight. Also try to limit any layovers or downtime between flights as well as early morning flights that could disrupt your normal sleep patterns. Disturbing your normal sleep patterns can make you feel more tired, which often makes pain more severe.

Pack light and minimize heavy lifting

Heavy lifting can place extra pressure on your back, so try to move slowly and pack only what you need for your trip. Most types of luggage have wheels attached to avoid any lifting, but lifting your suitcase in and out of cars or up into carry-on storage can strain your back more.

Move around during the flight

Sitting in one place for extended amounts of time can put extra stress on your back, making the pain feel much worse. Do your best to get up at least once every hour of your flight to move around the cabin and stretch (if you can find some room to). Try to get an aisle seat to avoid disturbing any fellow passengers.

If you or someone you love have been experiencing back pain, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 522-6930 to schedule your next appointment.