Bergen County Spine Surgeon Has Hints for Dealing with Back Pain While Traveling

The arrival of summer time means more than just warm weather and the sound of ice cream trucks. It’s also vacation time, and for many of us that means travel. Whether your ideal trip has you headed to the closest shore point or jetting off to an exotic locale, you need to take precautions to protect your back from injury – and if you’ve previously suffered from back pain you need to make sure you’re prepared for a flare-up when you’re away.

There are some activities that present known risks  – think waterskiing or riding a roller coaster – that you probably automatically stay away from. But other, less obvious injury-provoking actions — like lifting heavy luggage — can quickly turn a dream vacation into an absolute nightmare. Here are some helpful hints to help you save your back, as well as some for what to do if an old injury flares up or you do hurt yourself while you’re away.

  • Know how to lift your luggage – We’d tell you to pack light, but it’s even more important that you lift right. Don’t make any sudden or jerky movements. Instead, think about what you’re doing, and remember to bend your knees and use your legs instead of your back.
  • Don’t twist and pull (or lift) – One of the most common things that people say when they come in following a back or neck injury is that they were turning as they were lifting. Lifting straight up rather than in a left-to-right or right-to-left motion greatly diminishes your chances of hurting yourself.
  • Remember to ask for help – If you’re running to grab your luggage off of the belt, you’re not taking your time and you’re much more likely to suffer an injury. Just call out to those who are closer to your bag. Somebody will be happy to help. And worst case scenario you end up waiting until it comes around the belt again. Spending the extra few minutes waiting is a far better outcome than spending your vacation in pain.
  • Mail your bags – Many travel services now offer the option of having your luggage picked up at your home and shipped ahead. The beauty of this is that you not only avoid the risk of injury, but also can track your bag’s progress, so you won’t have to worry about it getting lost by the airlines.
  • Pack the medications you might need, as well as some portable hot packs. Both of these will come in very handy if you end up hurting yourself, and it’s far easier to have them with you ahead of time than going out and hunting them down in a strange location.
  • Remember that ice works wonders – Whether it’s while you’re sitting in a cramped and uncomfortable airline seat or you’re in a hotel room trying to find a comfortable position, a well-placed back of ice can provide real relief if you’re in pain.

We wish you an incident-free and enjoyable vacation, but if you do hurt yourself, we can help. Contact our office to set up a convenient appointment.

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