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Top Tips for Traveling and Commuting with Back Pain

Traveling Luggage

Travel and long commutes are notorious for causing back pain. Here are some tips on how to keep your back feeling strong while on the go:

When in the car use a lumbar support to maintain good spinal alignment. You can either purchase one online or simply roll up a towel or sweater.

When on a plane try and keep your carry-on luggage under 25 lbs and use a rolling suitcase. Instead of lifting from the floor, lift your suitcase to a chair and then lift it to the overhead bin. Keep the load close to your body and bend from the knees.

Staying active when on a plane, train, bus or car is challenging but possible and important. You can do simple and small movements while seated that could make a big difference. For example:

  • Pull your belly button back toward your spine and away from your seatbelt
  • Contract and relax different muscles in your body such as thighs and glutes
  • Open your toes and fingers wide and then relax them
  • Take regular deep breaths in and then gradually push air out

Image - Dr. Ellen CaseyDr. Ellen Casey is a physiatrist at the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. Her practices focus on the conservative treatment of acute sports medicine injuries and spine disorders. Dr. Casey also has expertise in the female athlete, including the female athlete triad, stress fractures and physical activity during and after pregnancy.



Image - Dana Rose

Dana Rose is the Site Manager at the HSS Spine Therapy Center. She graduated from Quinnipiac University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.  She is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist and is Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) certified. She has a passion for working with individuals with back and neck pain of all ages.  

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.