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Don’t let travelling with back problems hold you back

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If you’re about to get away from it all with a trip away, the last thing you’ll want is that back pain to come back and ruin it all. Whilst people find lots of ways of dealing with travelling with back problems, it’s the thought of being stuck on a plane that seems to cause the most anxiety.

Don’t let travelling with back problems hold you back

If you do already suffer with a bad back, you’ll know that there’s a lot more to just sitting down than, just sitting down! So we’ve put together a few hints and tips on the best ways to deal with back trouble, especially when flying.

Aircraft seats for back pain sufferers

There’s no definitive answer to this one as we’ve seen a number of experts recommend opposing views. Should you sit upright and keep your spine straight? or should you recline the seat for a more comfortable position? (Depending on your budget, some will even suggest upgrading to a business or first class seat so you can lay flat!)

Whichever you find the most comfortable is probably the best for you, but there are a number of points that all of these experts do seem to agree on.

• Take a cushion (or use a blanket) to support your lower back
• Put something under your feet if you can’t place them flat on the cabin floor
• Contact the airline well in advance if you think you’ll need special assistance
• Support your head and neck too to avoid causing problems here

Move around the plane as much as you can

A good idea here might be to try and book an aisle seat so that it makes it easier for you to get up and move around. Nobody wants to be the annoying passenger in the window seat that makes everyone else move all the time.

Try to move around every 30 minutes or so if you can, just a walk up and down the aisle will do enough to keep your circulation going.

Whether you get up and move around or not, you should still ensure that you stretch regularly – including stretching your arms, legs, head and neck etc.

Taking back pain medication or pain relief

Whatever medication you take for your pain, ALWAYS check that the specific medication you want to take is allowed on board the plane and at the destination you are travelling to!

Even what you consider to be an over-the-counter pain medication could be a banned substance at your destination, so make sure your bad back doesn’t land you in jail by checking this first.

Hot and Cold Packs are often very useful for helping to relive back problems and there’s no reason you shouldn’t take something like this with you. However, again you will need to think about what you are, and are not, allowed to take aboard an aircraft.

Think about taking a small hot water bottle or cold pack which the aircrew might be able to help you with during the flight – you won’t be taking hot water and ice through airport security, you just won’t!

As with seating, think about contacting the airline ahead of departure if you think you might want assistance like this and don’t just assume they will be able to provide this.

Packing light and not lifting luggage

It might sound obvious, but try not to overload you luggage especially if you don’t have any assistance to help you with them. Even your hand luggage should be light and if you can’t lift it into the overhead locker, ask a member of crew to assist.

Airports and airlines are very helpful if you give them advanced warning of your needs. There will be airport or airline staff around to help you from your departure terminal to your arrival gate, you just need to let them know what you help you might need so they can arrange for someone to assist you.

I know it’s your holiday, but lay off the booze!

Alcohol is known to cause dehydration, especially in the pressurised cabin of an airliner. The same applies to coffee and tea, so try sticking to a simple bottle of water during your flight and keep yourself hydrated.

Dehydration is known to worsen bad pain, particularly if your problem is disc related.

If you have any great tips that we’ve missed, let us know what you do when travelling with back problems and the ways that you find to cope with it.


Andy Chapman

Andy Chapman

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