Traveling can take a good amount of mental energy — especially when you have lower back pain caused by arthritis of the spine. Lumbar arthritis can make it uncomfortable to sit in one position for an extended period of time (and small airplane or car seats certainly don’t help). Plus, once you get to your destination, resting may sound much more appealing than sightseeing or socializing, throwing even more of a monkey wrench into your plans.
That’s not to say that there aren’t potential workarounds, though. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis of the lumbar spine, you don’t necessarily have to miss out on your favorite things. With an effective treatment plan and a few handy strategies, you can still make traveling part of your active life.
Traveling with lower back pain
Before your next trip, try:
- Allowing yourself opportunities to move. Book aisle seats if you’re planning to fly, or schedule occasional rest stops if you’re planning to drive. Getting up and moving around for a few minutes every couple of hours can help keep your blood flowing and your muscles from getting stiff.
- Planning for comfort. Pack loose, comfortable outfits for each day of your trip. If your back is giving you grief, the last thing you need is a too-snug waistband or restrictive shirt doing the same. Look for lightweight and stretchy fabrics in cuts that give you plenty of room to breathe.
- Hydrating and eating nutritious meals. Making sure your body has the nutrients and water supply it needs to function at its best can help you keep back pain at bay. Skip heavy, fried foods that’ll weigh you down and sub out inflammation-inducing alcoholic beverages for water or no-sugar-added juices.
- Streamlining your itinerary. Overloading your schedule can leave you feeling worn out instead of refreshed. Take it easy with a “one thing per day” approach and remember that you can always add more activity if you’re feeling up to it. If not, no harm, no foul.
Managing your back pain on a day-to-day basis
For many people, traveling is just an occasional part of their regular routine, and it’s just as important (or perhaps even more so) to find a treatment plan that works for day-to-day symptoms of arthritis of the lower back and spine. Some options can be as simple as exercising regularly or taking over-the-counter medications as needed, or as complex as receiving injections or using complementary therapies. Additionally, in some cases, surgery may be appropriate.
At USA Spine Care, we perform minimally invasive surgery — a safer and effective alternative to open back operations.^ You may be a candidate if you’ve tried a variety of nonsurgical treatments but haven’t found the results you need. To find out more, contact us today for a free MRI review.*