If you are like most people, you are so sick of the quarantine that you are already making plans to travel as soon as it is over.
Unfortunately, if you are one of the 80 percent of Americans who are experiencing back pain at one point in their lives, you might be wondering how you are going to travel if your back is killing you.
If the thought of a long plane, train, or car ride is already making your back hurt, even more, it’s time to take action!
You don’t need to limit those travel plans; you need to find ways to reduce your back pain if it occurs while you are traveling.
Let me give you some of the best tips that I give all my patients who have a fear of flying, not because they are afraid of heights or of crashes, but because of the back pain.
Best Tips to Manage Back Pain While Traveling
There are plenty of tips when it comes to traveling with back pain, chances are that you know most of them; such as scheduling nonstop flights as much as possible, don’t carry heavy purses or backpacks, and use rolling luggage, but these are mainly designed to prevent back pain.
What can you do if you find yourself on a plane for another 5 hours and your back starts acting up? Keep reading for what you can do to actively stop or reduce back pain.
Tip #1- Get an Aisle Seat
Why an aisle seat? This is so you can get up and walk without regret. Most of us are reluctant to squish over our seatmates and an aisle seat means you can get up anytime you like. If you can snag a seat near the front door with no seats in front of you, all the better.
As much as possible, get out of your seat and walk a bit. Walk to the bathroom, even if you don’t need to. Why? Because you are going to do a hamstring stretch that is one of the best ways to relieve back pain fast.
Lock the door and close the lid on the toilet. Put one heel on the toilet lid. Now bend at the waist and try to touch your toe. If you can’t go that far down, try to grab your ankle. Stretch as far as you can and hold it for a count of 30. Switch legs. Wash your hands and return to your seat. Your back pain should be drastically reduced.
Tip #2- Heat Wraps
Heat wraps are worn under your clothing and they often attach to your skin with some sticky tape. When activated (often you simply shake the product before use) these bring a long-lasting source of heat to your back that relaxes the muscles and brings soothing pain relief. Most heat wraps last about 8 hours and they activate in one or two minutes. Keep one in your purse, pocket, or carry on so if your back starts aching, you can find instant relief.
Tip #3- Get a Massage
While you can’t get a massage on the plane or train, you can usually get one at your hotel or at a nearby day spa. If your back starts to hurt at the end of your flight or if you find that your back is killing you the next morning, a quick visit to a day spa for a massage is a great way to start your vacation. It will also help you relax from a long, stressful trip.
Tip #4- Topical Pain Fighting Creams
For minor aches, the use of a topical cream that contains menthol, arnica, hemp, or capsaicin can help to loosen muscles and stop the pain.
Some of the best topical creams include names like Topricin, Blue-Emu, and Cause + Medic. Try one or two of these products BEFORE your trip to be sure that it works for you. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.
Once you find that product you like, purchase one or two and take them with you. Keep one in your carry-on or purse so you can use it on the train or in a restroom if you need to.
Don’t forget that little things can help a lot! If you get relief from a lumbar support pillow, seat cushion, neck brace, or posture device, bring it with you! Nothing can spoil a vacay faster than back pain.
If you should end up with serious back pain, however, don’t wait until you get home to seek professional help. Unless your vacation is out in the jungle, nearly every city in the world has chiropractors, acupuncture, or doctors to help.
Stay safe, watch your back, and have the vacation of a lifetime!
About Dr. Brent Wells:
Dr. Brent Wells is a licensed chiropractor who founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries. He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care, physical rehab therapy and chiropractic massage. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.