Tips for Traveling Without Triggering Chronic Back and Leg Pain

If you suffer from chronic back pain, your pain management strategy likely includes avoiding activities that worsen your symptoms. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible – especially when you’re doing something like traveling. Whether by train, plane, or car, traveling can aggravate symptoms of back and leg pain in many ways, potentially turning a fun trip into a miserable one.

Traveling doesn’t have to end in significant pain, though. There are many tips and tricks you can use to make your traveling experience much easier and more comfortable. At Posture Works, we encourage our chronic pain patients in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO, to stand up to back pain – literally – and enjoy their travels.

Why traveling can be so painful

For many people, traveling is synonymous with relaxing vacations and time off. But for people with chronic leg or back pain, traveling can be the exact opposite because of its likelihood to trigger pain symptoms.

One of the main reasons for this is all of the sitting you’ll be doing. No matter how you travel, you’ll probably be seated for the duration of the trip. For chronic back pain patients, remaining seated for long periods of time may cause numbness, stiffness, and pain due to spinal compression and muscle tension.

Tips for minimizing back pain

Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do while taking a trip to prevent a back-pain flare-up. Although you may inevitably experience some discomfort, these tips may help you keep your pain in check so you can enjoy your travels more.

  • Pack lightly: Before you even leave for your trip, examine your luggage and see if there are things you can remove. Packing lightly helps you avoid carrying heavy luggage around, which can put stress on your spine and exacerbate back pain. If you’re flying, consider checking a bag and only carrying a small personal item instead of bringing a carry on. Rely on luggage delivery services as needed to avoid hauling your heavy suitcase alone, as well.
  • Bring a support pillow: Seats in cars, planes, and trains are not known for being the most comfortable, nor are they very supportive. Sitting in an uncomfortable seat for hours can make back pain worse, so bringing a lumbar support pillow may help you mitigate your discomfort. Inflatable pillows are excellent for traveling because of their light weight and portability.
  • Take a walk: No matter how you’re traveling, you don’t want to remain seated for hours and hours; doing so can place extra pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles and cause stiffness. At least once an hour, take a walk to stretch your legs and your back. Walk up and down the airplane or train aisles or stop your car and take a short walk around.
  • Stretch: While you’re up and moving, add a few easy stretches to the mix to further stretch out your back and legs. Deep knee bends while supporting yourself with a wall or lunges against your car’s bumper are both good ways to alleviate pressure on your lumbar spine.

When you get to your destination, remember to keep up with the stretches and exercises prescribed by your chiropractor to maintain a healthy spine until you return home. Once you’re back, you may want to turn to the experts at Posture Works in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO, for a spinal adjustment or other chiropractic treatment to potentially alleviate the stress your spine endured throughout the journey. Through our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) techniques, we may be able to soothe pain brought on by traveling and set you up for a more comfortable lifestyle.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.