Use These Tips to Protect Your Back While Traveling

Summer is getting closer and closer, and many people in Webster, Texas, and the surrounding areas are ready for a vacation. However, your travel plans can easily be hindered by back pain without the proper pain management techniques. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we understand that everyone wants a pain-free vacation, so we’ve listed some tips to help you protect your back while traveling:


  1. Divide Your Luggage

Instead of packing all of your vacation items into one bag, try dividing your items into 2 or 3 smaller, lighter bags. According to the Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, heavy lifting was one of the most commonly stated causes of lower back pain (1). Packing separate bags allows you to pack whatever you may need for a trip, without causing one bag to become too heavy and increase your risk for back pain.


  1. Avoid Twisting When Lifting Luggage

According to the medical journal Spine, twisting motions are significantly related to back pain (2). When lifting heavy luggage, replace a twisting motion with a pivot. This allows your whole body to move, reducing the amount of strain placed on your back and reducing the risk for injury.


  1. Bring an OTC Medication as a Backup

If you’re prescription medication runs out, you don’t want to be stuck with pain during your trip. Bring an Over-the-Counter medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce pain in the event you are left without your prescription. However, be sure to speak with your local pain management doctor to ensure these medications are safe for you to use.


  1. Get Up and Stretch

If you are traveling by plane, get up and stretch once the pilot has stated it is safe to move around. Plane rides often involve long periods of sitting still, which can mean bad news for your back.  According to the medical journal Spine, prolonged sitting in a constrained posture increases the risk for back pain (3). Getting up and moving around can help relieve the back from being confined to one posture for extended periods of time.


  1. Wear Slip-On Shoes

According to the medical journal Occupational Medicine, frequently bending over shows significant potential for contributing to back pain (4).  Avoid this by wearing slip on shoes. These shoes can be easily taken off after a long day of walking without the need to bend over and potentially make your back pain worse.


Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy yourself, not deal with back pain. These simple tips can help keep your back pain-free when traveling. For expert back pain treatment in Webster, Texas, and the surrounding areas, give the Spine Solutions Center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital a call at 832-340-2134.




The Causes of a Bad Back and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

For many patients in Webster, Texas, and the surrounding areas, back pain is an irritating problem that can have an impact on their daily routine. However, there are certain measures that can be taken to prevent painful symptoms from occurring. As a leading name in pain management, Houston Physicians’ Hospital believes that no one should experience a reduced quality of life due to back pain. Here, we’ve laid out some causes that contribute to back pain, and what you can do to prevent them:


  1. Slouching

According to the journal Manual Therapy, those with pain disorders affecting the lumbar spine often sit in a flexed spinal posture, essentially meaning they often sit in a slouched position (1). This is a larger problem for those who sit for long periods of time as part of their occupation. To avoid back pain resulting from slouched posture, periodically check to ensure your ears are in line with your shoulders. Additionally, you can purchase a lumbar support pillow to help support and position your spine to help you sit properly.


  1. Back Spasms

According to the journal Clinical Biomechanics, muscles spasms within the back contribute to a substantial proportion of those affected by back pain (2). These spams can occur when the tendons or muscles within the lower back are injured or torn, usually as a result of athletic activity or weight lifting. Strengthening and stretching the back muscles are key in preventing these painful spasms. Incorporate stretching into your workout routine to loosen the muscle fibers and focus on strengthening the muscles within the back to prevent injury and muscular imbalances.


  1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become brittle and weak. While some factors, such as genetics, can make the development of osteoporosis unavoidable in some individuals, there are some measures you can take to delay the onset and reduce the severity. According to the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, there is evidence to suggest that certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, exercise, and calcium consumption can affect bone density (3). To prevent severe osteoporosis-related back pain, quitting smoking, increasing calcium intake, and regular exercise are key.


  1. Anxiety

While many people think back pain is the result of only physical factors, mental factors are a common contributor as well. In fact, the medical journal Spine states that a study indicated a high degree of worry is directly correlated with lower back pain (4). While anxiety can be difficult to overcome, steps can be taken to prevent it, such as deep breathing and exercise. To prevent back pain caused by excess worry, find a method to control anxiety that works best for you.


  1. Being Overweight

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, individuals who are overweight have a higher prevalence of back pain than those who are not overweight (5). Excess body weight can place increased strain on the spine and contribute to painful symptoms. To reduce body weight, both diet and activity level changes are recommended. Incorporating at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity into your day, along with eliminating processed foods with high amounts of saturated fat can reduce overall body weight along with the risk for experiencing back pain.


Those looking to avoid back pain in Webster, Texas, and the surrounding areas may benefit from these tips. However, back pain has many causes, and symptoms can range from mildly irritating to severe. For expert pain management for your back problems, give Houston Physicians’ Hospital’s Spine Solutions Center a call at 832-340-2134.