So, you’ve taken the steps and made an appointment with some of the most renowned back specialists in the country to treat your back pain. Whether you plan to visit the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) campus for the first time to get an initial evaluation or you’re scheduled for a procedure, you need to do everything you can to keep your back healthy until you get there.
Travel can be difficult on a bad back. Long car rides, bumpy trains or buses and even jarring takeoffs and landings on planes can stir up your back pain and do anything but keep your back healthy. You may have visited in the past or plan on making your first trek to the Charleston, South Carolina campus. Either way, there are steps you can take ahead of your visit to allay some of your pain.
Prescriptive Pain Relief
Talk to your back doctors about medications you can safely take until you get to SSI for treatment. While you certainly don’t want to cause any more harm to your already compromised back, to keep your back healthy as possible, sometimes you need to focus on relaxation.
Common medications used to help you survive a trip and stay relaxed until your spinal doctor takes over include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medications that relieve minor pain and sometimes work wonders for reducing inflammation. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
- Prescription NSAIDS such as COX-2 inhibitors provide much the same relief, but with fewer side effects to your gastrointestinal system. Medications such as Celebrex, however, may cause other complications, such as heart issues.
- Muscle relaxers may be especially useful while you travel and while you’re waiting for treatment when your back tightens up. Staying calm and relaxed is ideal to keep your back healthy while you wait.
- Narcotics might be prescribed if your pain is acute and unbearable. If you do take drugs such as Vicodin, codeine or OxyContin, you need to have someone travel with you to ensure your safety at all times. And you definitely can’t drive while taking narcotics.
- Anti-depressants sometimes are useful if you have excessive anxiety about an upcoming procedure. They also can be helpful if you have difficulty sleeping.
Take care to keep your back healthy until your reach SSI. Keep warm compresses nearby, which can help relieve minor pain during a long trip. Try alternating with ice for maximum relief. Other travel tips to keep your back healthy until you arrive for treatment include:
- Move about on a regular basis. While it may seem counterintuitive, movement is one of the most important treatment options for back pain.
- If you can’t travel with your own personal masseuse, book a therapeutic massage when you arrive at your hotel. If possible, seek out a licensed massage therapist on your route to SSI or get a thorough massage before you leave.
- Carry a lumbar pillow (not as bulky as a massage therapist and a lot cheaper). Very few, if any seats in public and private transportation have proper back support built in.
- Practice proper lifting and carrying techniques. Don’t twist. Bend at the knees. Carry luggage close to your body. And switch sides while carrying shoulder bags.
- Put your feet up whenever possible to relieve strain on your back.
The team at SSI can relieve you of all your concerns once you arrive. Keep your back healthy while you travel. And when you return home, closely follow all the instructions you’re given. Know that all will soon be well.