Travel is a commonly overlooked cause of lower back pain. Air travel in particular can be hazardous to your spinal health due to severe slouching for several hours followed by dragging your suitcase through the airport. Sitting in airplane seats (which are generally ergonomically dysfunctional) compresses the discs between your vertebrae and can increase any pre-existing spinal pain or heighten a chronic condition. The hustle through the airport continues to compress your lower back, increasing the pain.
How can I prevent back pain when I travel?
- Sit with your bottom fully lodged at the back of the airplane seat and place a firm cushion in the small of your back.
- Select an aisle seat and get up and move around as often as you are allowed. Don’t wait for the pain!
- Don’t be a hero at the luggage carousel. Take your time. Bend your knees, not your back and avoid twisting your spine. Heavy suitcase? Ask for help. (Check out these tips on lifting heavy objects)
- If your back acts up as you stroll, pick up the pace and lightly contract your abdominals as you walk. Increasing your core strength is a great long-term prevention strategy as well.
- If you’re in pain for more than 2 days after your injury, contact us at Spine and Sports, a pain management and New York physical therapy clinic. Call us at 212.986.3888 or check us out at http://spineandsports.com