Planning a winter getaway? Taking some time away from your everyday is a welcome relief, but for back pain sufferers, pain can be an unwelcome fellow traveler. It can be problematic when you’re heading to your destination, as sitting in one position for long periods can be highly uncomfortable. Some sufferers also find that in addition to the travel itself being taxing, not having the familiar comforts of home (even if you’re staying in a lux hotel!) can aggravate pain. It doesn’t mean that you should skip your trip; instead, take these proactive measures to help to ease the pain.
Create an Itinerary
There’s plenty of fun and surprises when you’re playing a trip by ear, but if you are dealing with health issues like chronic neck or back pain, it’s better to have a clear plan. If you know what to expect, and when to expect it, it’s easier to plan for what you’ll need in order to be comfortable. Having a handle on all of your travel plans can also help relieve stress, which can be beneficial in and of itself. On a day-to-day basis during your trip, if you know you’ll be engaged in an activity that may exacerbate your pain, you can preemptively use precautions like taking an OTC pain reliever.
Pack with Care
Before you leave, make a packing list so you can be prepared with everything you think you’ll need to stay comfortable during your trip. If there’s any possibility you’ll be separated from your luggage, it’s a good idea to pack medication in both your carry-on and your checked baggage so that you won’t be stuck without it. Staying with family? You might consider mailing some of the items you know you’ll need, giving you less to carry with you.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Sometimes, you’re in a situation — like a long car or plane ride — where getting up and moving around to relieve pain isn’t an option. When this is the case, one measure you can take is to use heat or cooling to help your pain. Traveling by car? Take advantage of seat warmers (if you’re renting a car, see if you can upgrade to a ride that has them). Instant heat packs that you crack or snap to activate can also help. If you’re flying, just be sure the packs you’ve chosen are allowable in carry-on luggage. Instant cooling packs can be used in the same way, but it’s a good idea to also pack a gallon-size zipper-seal plastic bag. Fill it with ice from your hotel’s ice machine and you’ve got an instant DIY cooling pack.
Keep Up Your Routine
When you suffer from chronic pain, you come to know what helps provide some relief and what adds to your hurt. If you have regular measures that you take to find pain relief when you’re at home, make sure you’re able to do these on the road. For example, if you do specific stretches or exercises, plan on making time (and packing what you need) to be able to stick with your plan once you’ve reached your destination.
If all of this sounds like extra work, that’s because it is. Being able to simply relax and enjoy your vacation is something else that chronic back pain takes away from you. Why not make your next trip be the beginning of your journey to relief? Canadians from across the provinces travel to the Spine Institute Northwest to get back their lives. Ready to get started? Call us at 888-712-0318.