7 Outstanding Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

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Back pain has millions of sufferers and traveling can be horrendous.  Sitting in one position for a long flight or lugging heavy luggage around just increases the misery, but who doesn’t wish to travel and explore the world?

These are some excellent tips to help lessen your pain while traveling:

1. Schedule your flights wisely

Traveling with back pain can be miserable, especially on a plane.  You are sometimes the one stuck in an economy-class seat, with little room, leaving your spine feeling out of whack.   To minimize time in the air, some travelers choose to book non-stop flights if available.

2. Get up and move, move, move

For sufferers of back pain, sitting throughout the flight in the same position will cause stiffness and greater pain, so a better idea is to get out of your seat and move around or change positions.  Especially on long flights, it could be detrimental to your health not to move around. This could include walking to the washroom or the up and down the aisle.

See: Move around on long flights to prevent blood clots

3. Packing light for your flight

Do you really believe you will wear all of those clothes you packed for your trip – likely not.  Don’t over pack, as every item packed will be dragged from your car, throughout the airport or stuffed into the overhead bin.  Consider carrying a backpack while exploring new places on your trip instead of an oversized handbag or shoulder bag.

Consider what you actually require for your trip, your back and shoulders will love you for it. Pack only bare essentials.

4. Check your hotel out

Your sleep has a huge impact on how you feel, therefore, pain sufferers want to feel their best during a trip or vacation.  Waking up in the morning in dreadful pain can ruin your day. Check your hotel prior to arriving to request what you require.  Call back again to ensure that everything is set in place before leaving on your trip, confirming what you required is noted on your reservation.

Perhaps it’s essential that you need a firm mattress for support, extra pillows, air conditioning depending on the climate, does the hotel have an elevator or bellhops to assist.  Also, if exercise or swimming relieves your pain, inquire if they have a fitness center or pool. Confirm, once again, that these requests are noted.

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5. Bring medications & accessories

Medications.  Warning: I can’t stress enough, be sure you have adequate or extra medications while traveling and bring the prescription pills in their own containers as it makes it so much smoother in proceeding through customs or baggage check or if you have an emergency.

Pills filled in a seven-day container while proceeding through customs or baggage check are useless.  How does the custom’s officer know what’s in the content of those pills?

Of course, you’ll also want to bring along any medications that help you manage your back pain (including over-the-counter).  Keep these pills in their bottles also.  Know the name of your medications, why you take them, present or past illnesses or surgeries, known allergies and names of your home doctors.

Pack light, however, you have to allow some accessories to aid with back pain.  There are lumbar pillows, or for quick use, supporting your neck with a rolled up sweatshirt or jacket may work.

Consider also for pain relief with heat, ThermaCare HeatWraps, providing up to eight hours of heat and can be worn under your clothing. If pain relief is preferable with cold, the ice machine at your hotel using a zip-lock plastic bags (brought from home) is useful and adds no weight to your bags.

6. Manage your stress level

Avoid travel stress before your trip beginning at the airport.  Be on time, allow for traffic on the way to the airport, arrive ahead of time to allow you time to relax instead of racing for your flight gate.

Be sure to listen to your favorite music during your flight, adult coloring books are awfully relaxing, deep breathing and keep your mind distracted off the pain by managing your stress.  Don’t be a worry wort thinking you should have packed this or that, I should have checked the stove one more time, are all of the windows closed at home etc.

Finally, don’t overschedule your itinerary.

7. You deserve Self Indulgence

If this is a trip or vacation you’ve been saving for, and you have a few extra dollars, consider upgrading from economy to premium economy or business-class allowing you more room to stretch your legs allowing a bit more comfort.

At your hotel or in town think about treating yourself to a massage by a registered massaged therapist.  It’s both soothing, relaxing and marvelous for your back.  Some spas have couples massages and other services such as facials, manicures or pedicures.


Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017



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