Accommodations? Check. Transport? Check. Got the Bags Out? Check. You’re all set for your summer vacation. But what about your spine? Here are a few tips to avoid back pain while traveling to ensure that your travel plans do not include a consultation with your spine specialist after your trip!
Do you basically pack like you are immigrating to another country? We know it’s tough, but try to pack light, for the sake of your back. In case you can’t help it, divide your luggage into a few lighter bags instead of one heavy backpack. As far as your spine goes, rolling trolley bags are much better than heavy backpacks if you don’t have to carry your luggage around. Avoid sitting on your wallet or a back pocket that is full.
Another key point is – don’t hesitate to ask for help every time you have to lift a heavy bag – either while placing it on an overhead rack or lifting it off removing it from the dickey of a car. In the situation that you must carry a shoulder bag, prefer one that has two straps rather than. In case it absolutely has to be a one sided bag, switch sides frequently. While lifting heavy bags, remember to bend at your knees and not your back. Carry heavier items as close to your body as possible.
You instinctively tend to do a luggage and kids head count every time you travel right? Do the same for your back too! Here’s a spine specialist’s quick checklist for keeping a tab on your posture:
• Both feet flat on the floor
• Lower back pressed against the seat
• Inner curve of your back supported
• Both ears aligned over the shoulders
• Shoulders aligned over the hips
Should you need to, roll a towel and place it as support against your lower back. Use a foot rest if you are short and your feet do not touch the floor.
Finally, if you suffer from chronic back pain, it wouldn’t hurt to let the hotel authorities know beforehand about the kind of mattress that you would prefer. Do consider carrying heating pads, cold packs, neck pillows or small towels that can be rolled up for support. Talk to your regular orthopaedic doctor, physiotherapist or spine specialist for tips specific to your condition.
Did you find these travel tips to avoid back pain useful? Let us know in the comments below! Wishing you a happy and spine-safe vacation!
Dr. Kunal Shah is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Spine Specialist at Agashe Hospital in Mumbai. If you would like to consult with Dr. Kunal Shah, just leave us your contact details in the form below.