Dealing with back pain conditions and sciatica symptoms can affect all areas of your life, this is also true of travel plans and vacations. Treatments for sciatic pain aren’t always in the form of medications, they can also be things that help to prevent back pain and sciatica. When traveling with back issues there are some things you need to keep in mind, and some preventative methods and treatments for sciatic pain you can take. Read below for some helpful tips on traveling with sciatica and back pain and using prevention as a treatment for sciatic pain.
Traveling by plane before and during the flight.
- If you are flying try to book an aisle seat. This makes it so much easier for when you need to get in and out, gives you slightly more room if you need to stretch out a bit and means you won’t have to bother other people so much.
- Pack as lightly as possible, especially if you are carrying your luggage. If possible use suitcases with wheels; they are great if you have a bad back. You may be able to buy some things you need like shampoo, soap, lotions etc when you get there. Check out the clothes washing facilities and then pack accordingly.
- Pack some relaxation music, meditation tapes or stress reduction CD’s to use on the plane as a treatment for sciatic pain. They will help you relax more and ease tension and stress which can exacerbate pain. Do try them out before hand so you know the effect they have on you.
- Check your vacation destination. Is it easy for you to get around? If you find steps difficult are there any you will have to negotiate? What are the medical facilities? How much walking will you need to do to get around? How far is your destination from the airport? Will there be a long car or coach journey? You need to know what you can handle comfortably with your back problems and book accordingly.
- If you require medication as a treatment for sciatic pain, make sure you carry enough for the duration of your travels and take some extra in case of delays. Ensure you carry your medications in your hand luggage and in their original labeled containers. Check with airline before booking your flights for the latest regulations on this. Do take all your back care medications and anything else that helps your back pain and sciatic nerve symptoms, like heat pads, with you in hand luggage.
2. While waiting for your transport.
- If you find sitting aggravates your pinched sciatic nerve symptoms and back ache, keep moving about before your journey. You will have a lot of sitting to do so take the opportunity to walk about, stand up and stretch. Do not sit down unless necessary.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your airport. You want to arrive in plenty of time. You do not want to be getting stressed and rushing. Get there a little earlier than you need to then you will remain relaxed.
3. During a flight.
- Drink lots of water on the flight. Particularly if you are taking specific treatments for sciatic pain and as you are at altitude your body will easily get dehydrated which is not good for anyone and especially not if you have back pain and disc problems. However the easy solution is to keep drinking water and to avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as these only dehydrate you further.
- Move around as much as possible and at least once an hour get out of your seat and walk up and down the aisles. If you are following a back care stretching and strengthening back pain exercise system then try to do some of these. I always do mine on the plane and it has not caused any problems but i do ask first. Do be courteous to other passengers but I find it perfectly possible to do the standing ones without causing any inconvenience in the aisles or in the galley part if you request politely of the cabin crew at times when it is not too busy.
- Wear clothing that allows you to move freely. Do not wear anything constrictive or heavy.
- Try not to fall asleep. This can be difficult but it is better to stay awake and move than to fall asleep and be in an uncomfortable position which may aggravate your back pain. If you feel you may need to sleep take a headrest cushion with you and request additional pillows.
- When in your seat, use the pillows and take a lumbar support if you need to help you get in the most comfortable position you can. Airline seats were not designed for people with back pain but there is a lot you can do with blankets and pillows to make yourself less uncomfortable. If it helps you put your feet on a raised area to bring your knees and hips in a better alignment, you will need to experiment with this.
- Do ask for assistance; do not try to struggle with putting luggage in the overhead bins etc
What about those long car journeys?
- Try out different driving time limits to suit you. You may need a break every hour, test out what works for you. Do get out of the car, walk around, do any back pain relief stretches and just move around for about 10 -15 minutes. If you are stopping at a service station do not sit in the café but move and walk around first.
- Do not carry your mobile phone or wallet in your back pocket. If you do it can create an abnormal sitting position tilting one hip higher which may cause you to have problems.
- If your car has a lumbar support which is adjustable that is good but if not a lumbar support cushion will work as well to give extra support for your bad back. If you are hiring a car you can check this out beforehand or bring your own cushion to custom your seat.
- Try using a heating pad as a treatment for sciatic pain and sciatica symptoms. Heating pads can be thin enough to be comfortable when driving. They deliver a constant therapeutic heat which can be good to ease back pain and sciatica. Some cars may have heated seats which can help.
- Power steering is wonderful and will help you a lot if you have upper or lower back pain and sciatica. Most cars do have this now but do check.
- Try to share the driving whenever possible
- Do any back care stretches you have been given before you start the journey, anytime you can during the journey, in breaks and after the journey.
- Drink plenty of water during the journey; it is easy to get dehydrated which is not good for you or your back. Try to eat healthy nutritious snacks.
- Try to maintain a good driving posture, this is easier if you are taking regular breaks and can prove to be helpful as a preventative treatment for sciatic pain.