Traveling with sciatic nerve pain is a nerve-racking ordeal, to say the least. With sciatica, your back can erupt in sharp pain and you can also experience discomfort in your legs at any point. That’s what makes the thought of traveling with sciatica dreadful. But don’t worry, there are tips for traveling with sciatica that can make your vacation less stressful for you.
Some Tips For Traveling With Sciatica
Traveling with sciatica can undoubtedly present as a challenge, but by taking the right precautions and by being aware of your capacity to exert, you can tail off the flaring aches. Here are some simple tips on how you can effectively travel with sciatica.
- Keep Travel Time Limited
- Pack Light
- Take Care Of Your Sitting Position
- Stretch Throughout The Journey
- Make Use Of A Wedge Seat Cushion
- Maintain Good Driving Posture
- Take A Warm Bath After Arriving
- Massage Your Muscles
1. Keep Travel Time Limited
When you’re planning your vacation or trip, try to choose such locations that do not require excessive travel. Know your own limitations and try not to overdo it. Try and gauge for how long you can tolerate sitting or driving before you start feeling the beginnings of sciatic pain. Once you have a rough idea, you can plan the breaks you’ll take throughout your journey.
If you’re the one driving, then taking a break can help relax your arms, neck, and shoulders that had been engaged with the steering wheel all this while. And your legs too will get some rest from pushing on the accelerator, clutch, and brake peddles. The break is crucial as while driving you’re prone to whole-body vibration and restriction in blood circulation.
2. Pack Light
Your sciatica nerves can become highly stressed if you’re going to be weightlifting your bag all the time. This is why it’s best to pack extremely light while traveling with sciatica. Opt for a trolley bag for your travels so you can move your bag as much as you’d like without lifting it. A few essentials that you must pack in your bag to ease sciatica pain includes
- Cold and heat packs for pain relief.
- Your prescribed medications to bring the pain down when it is excessive.
- A nerve relief oil, gel, or cream that naturally soothes the tingling sciatica pain. Even an instant relief spray will do.
- Your most comfortable pair of shoes.
- A pillow or anything else that provides you with lumbar support.
3. Take Care Of Your Sitting Position
Even for a healthy individual, being seated for long periods can result in body soreness and stiff muscles. You might even feel fatigued if your seating position is not comfortable or if the seat does not match your body type. You can avoid all these symptoms simply by sitting in a comfortable position.
Throughout the journey keep changing your seating posture and adjust yourself. It won’t be possible for you to finish your journey in one sitting, instead be prepared to make adjustments and adopt new postures that will not compress your sciatic nerves and provide you relief from time to time.
4. Stretch Throughout The Journey
The next important step is to make sure that you stretch out your limbs and muscles every once in a while. Stretching your body out helps relax your muscles and reduce body stiffness and muscle tension. Stretching can also help reduce back injury due to extreme sciatic irritation. Stretching from time to time ensures better movement, increased flexibility, and range of motion. It increases blood flow through the body and reduces the chances of having blood clots.
5. Make Use Of A Wedge Seat Cushion
Many cars might come with comfortable seats and headrests, but staying seated for a long duration irrespective of how comfortable the seat is can be taxing and exhausting. Car seats, train seats, and flight seats are all made following a universal size and shape, which fits well for most body types. But it doesn’t mean that it is perfect for all.
The key to having a comfortable seating posture during your travel is using a wedge seat cushion or a sciatic pillow. They are inexpensive and support your lower back and spine so that you don’t put much pressure on your sciatic nerves, keeping sciatic pains at bay. The pillow reduces pressure between the tailbone and the back, improves circulation to the legs, and evenly distributes your body weight.
6. Maintain Good Driving Posture
If you’re driving, then you’re engaging your hands, shoulders, neck, back, and legs throughout the journey. So, keeping your driving posture in mind is a crucial tip. Don’t extend your arms straight, clutch the steering wheel tight, this only increases tension in your arms, shoulders, and neck. This stiffness can then add pressure to the sciatic nerves in your lower back and you might start experiencing pain. Instead, keep your arms relaxed and bent at the elbows, do not slouch, and make sure your shoulders, back and head are rested along the backrest of your seat.
7. Take A Warm Bath After Arriving
Once you’ve completed your journey and made it to your accommodation, go for a warm bath or at least apply a warm compress to your lower back. This form of heat therapy is great for muscle soreness and has numerous benefits. The heat stimulates the skin and helps relieve pain. It also dilated your blood vessels, increasing your blood flow and encouraging healing. The increased blood circulation facilitates the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the affected area. Heat therapy also relieves the pressure from the sciatic nerve.
8. Massage Your Muscles
You can also opt for a gentle and relaxing massage. You can either make use of massage oils or use special oils for sciatica, that help relieve pain. The massage helps in two ways: firstly, it increases your pain threshold and reduces muscle tension. If you’re experiencing leg pain, it is mostly because of muscle tension. So a light massage can relax the muscles and reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Indulging in massages also promotes the secretion of endorphins, which are our body’s natural painkillers and help relieve pain and promote an overall sense of well-being.
Sciatica can make a lot of things tricky and difficult including travel. But it does not mean that you cannot enjoy a short trip or have a vacation once in a while. You must take some precautions and measures and know your body’s limits while traveling and sitting. Most importantly, make sure you take your doctor’s permission and advice before embarking on any travel. All this will only ensure you have a comfortable travel experience.
Can Flying Aggravate Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused due to the pressure radiating from the sciatic nerve, which in turn hurts the lower back, buttocks, and legs. So, sitting for a long time, whether it is while driving or flying, the pressure from the seats against your nerve can aggravate your pain.
What Should You Not Do With Sciatica?
You should avoid exercises that stretch your hamstrings and lifting heavy weights. Also, avoid sitting for long periods, bending your back, twisting your spine, and uncomfortable chairs that do not support your lower back.
What Aggravates The Sciatic Nerve?
Stress, high heels, sitting in an uncomfortable seat, and lifting something heavy can put pressure on your sciatic nerve and then aggravate the pain.
What Vitamins Help With Sciatica?
Vitamin B specifically helps improve nerve health and reduce sciatica. But it’s always good to have a balance of other vitamins in your diet such as vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. This will help keep your nerve health in check.