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Don't Let Traveling With Back Pain Keep You at Home

There are many ways that travel can exacerbate already existing back pain. Stress can contribute mightily to muscle tension and stiffness, and there can be plenty to stress about while traveling -- flight delays, lost luggage, annoying fellow travelers and traffic gridlock. It's no wonder we often arrive at our destination so much worse for wear. Below are some tips to reduce the impact of traveling with back pain.

Get Up and Move

Sitting in one position for long periods causes blood flow to muscles and joints to be restricted. Consequently, we experience stiffness or numbness in these areas. If you must remain seated, adjust your position every few minutes and when you're able, get up and move around. This can be difficult on a plane, but you can walk back to the lavatory a couple times each flight. Bend your knees and drop down to pick up a "dropped" object. Stretch your arms up and back down and do a few head and neck rolls. For car travel, adjust your seat for maximum support and when you pull into a rest area to use the facilities, take a short walk around the premises to get your blood flowing. While traveling by train, stroll through the train to the lounge car and observation deck to stretch your legs.

Travel With Supports

Pack a couple cervical and lumbar support cushions in your carry-on to use behind your neck and in the small of your back. Some are even inflatable. When you get to your destination, you may find that the mattress and pillow contribute to your discomfort. While there isn't much you can do about a lumpy mattress, you can speak to the concierge about your back pain and request a room with a firm mattress. Bringing along a favorite pillow from home may help to induce a good night's rest.

Lighten Your Luggage

If at all possible, carry two smaller suitcases as opposed to a single large, heavy one. Symmetrical loads are easier on the spine. If your luggage doesn't have wheels and a handle, consider investing in a set that does. Luggage carts are available in most major airports for a nominal fee; use them, or tip a porter to carry your bags to the airline counter. It will be money well spent. Pack smarter and select mix-and-match clothing that can be worn for more than one purpose to cut down on weight.

When traveling with back pain make sure you pack adequate pain medication for your entire trip. Realize that it may be difficult to refill some prescriptions while you are away. Keep your stress levels to a minimum and happy trails!


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