Whether you’re driving, flying, taking the train, or otherwise, travel can be rough on your body. Sitting for hours on end, especially in seats that normally fall short in the areas of comfort and support, can cause aches pains, and worsen pre-existing conditions.
For those with sciatica, these negative effects are even more profound. Discomfort, stiffness, and pain are not just a possibility; they’re an expectation. From your lower back to your legs and feet, the nerve pain associated with sciatica is often triggered and worsened by travel.
Unfortunately, travel is an essential part of modern life. Even if you aren’t boarding a plane to cross the globe, you undoubtedly find yourself driving to and from work, visiting the grocery store, and otherwise traveling for daily life.
So, how do you mitigate these seemingly inevitable risks? Read on for our top tips for traveling with sciatica pain.
If you are driving, make sure you have your seat positioned correctly. Finding your ideal seat position can take experimentation and time, but the result is worth the effort. As you make adjustments, remember to only change one thing at a time. That way, you can note the difference that particular change made.
In addition to adjusting your seat, consider using accessories like wedge cushions. These and other accessories can shift your seating position and alleviate sciatica pain. This holds true whether you are driving or traveling as a passenger. Try a few cushions and other accessories to discover what works best for you.
Bonus tip: remove hard objects from your back pockets, including phones and wallets. These items can shift your position, put pressure on sensitive areas, and irritate your sciatica.
Take Breaks and Stretch
If you have control over your travels, be sure to stop occasionally and give yourself a break from sitting. This is especially important when driving, as the seat position and constant vibration can inflame your sciatica pain.
Whether you can stop or not, you should also remember to move and stretch. Even in an airplane, you can stand up, walk to the bathroom, and stretch out a little. It may not seem like much, but that bit of movement can restore your circulation and reduce muscular tension.
Tune into Your Body
Having limitations is not a bad thing. You do not have to power through sciatica pain when you’re traveling. Instead, tune into your body, listen to what it’s telling you, and know your limitations. If you need to take a break, stretch, or even stop driving for a while, do so.
Even professional athletes know that their bodies have limits, and they listen to those limitations. Doing the same can save you from the discomfort and pain of sciatica.
It may not be a cure-all, but making a concerted effort to relax as you travel can work wonders for your sciatica. Tension is often a trigger of sciatica pain, so staying loose can help avoid pain when traveling. Keep in mind that relaxation does not mean slouching or poor posture, both of which can make your pain worse!
Talk to Your Doctor
We hope that these active ways of mitigating sciatica pain while traveling help you unlock a pain-free future. If you want more information about traveling with sciatica—or the condition as a whole—we encourage you to reach out to us. We’re happy to answer your questions, provide you with more helpful ways of preventing sciatica pain, and personalize a plan for your unique situation.