Often times we get asked how hard our trips are on the body. Many people have chronic pain in their back, or joints and want to have amazing adventures, but are worried they’ll get on the trail and not be able to make it. We’re here to say that isn’t always the case.
Here are some of my tips for surviving traveling while in massive pain or trying to prevent medium pain from getting much bigger.
Think About Airline Seating
Sitting in an airplane seat for hours is not the worst thing you can do for your back, but it isn’t good. One thing we suggest on a long flight is to do a few toe touching exercises to stretch out your back muscles once every hour or two.
When sitting in your seat take a pillow or a sweatshirt and put it behind your back to get back support.
If you can choose an aisle seat and forgo sleep. Keep in mind that back pain after a flight is a real thing. On a flight longer than 6 hours, you’ll probably be jet lagged anyway, but having a quick lie down after a flight might help you to relieve some of your back problems.
Some days you might wake up and find that your back is sore. On vacation after you have walked for miles the day before this can be really tricky to avoid. This is why we suggest you always pack ibuprofen in your day bag.
Make sure that any meds you need are easy to access and do not, whatever you do, forget to take them. If you have emergency pain meds, make sure they stay on your person, or are kept some place out of reach like a hotel safe. People may try and steal them, which is the last thing you need to deal with when you’re dealing with back pain in a strange place.
Dress Comfy, and Bring an Extra Pair of Shoes
You have triggers like turbulent flights or stress to add to your pain – you don’t need to add uncomfortable clothing to the mix. So try and find a pair of nice leggings, or yoga pants.
Wearing the same shoes day in and day out seem to make make the balls of your feet and lower back ache. We suggest changing up between two sturdy pairs of shoes every day or so. We think the best bet is to bring a pair of supportive sneakers and sandals, so you can wear the sandals on a day with minimal walking.
If you are prone to back problems then forget about how much the airline says you can put in a bag, your goal is not to take as much as you can but as little. You may consider even traveling without a book in my bag, these items can be heavy and take up valuable space for things your need, or cause extra stress on our back. A Kindle or iPad can be a much more effective way to carry multiple books without the additional weight.
Consult Your Doctor
We can’t stress this enough. If you have chronic back pain don’t let it stop you from having adventures but make sure you are traveling smart! This means asking your doctor if a trip is safe for you to go on.