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Traveling with Back Pain

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If you suffer from back pain, you are probably dreading the long car or plane ride necessary to get you to your vacation destination this summer. While there is no strong science behind prevention strategies, there are things you can do to help make your travel more comfortable.

Here are some helpful tips from Dr. John Keel, a physiatrist (medical specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation) at NEBH.

  • Take breaks often – stop at rest stops and alternate drivers.
  • If on a plane, stand or take a short walk in the aisle when you have an opportunity.
  • When sitting, use a small pillow behind the back for a time, then take it out, then sit on it for a time. This is a method of shifting your body to avoid getting stuck for the whole ride in the same position.
  • Do not drive if you have radiating pain and weakness or dysfunction in your driving leg.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure your core is strong by continuing your prescribed exercise program.
  • If you are receiving injections for pain management, consider getting one in time to feel good for your trip.
  • Medications - do not use sedating pain medications while driving.
  • If your pain continues, you should consult an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain. Find a doctor now.  

Remember-you are not damaging your back with a long car ride or plane trip, even though it may hurt.

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