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5 Sciatica Travel Tips That Don't Involve Pain and Misery | Springfield, IL

Spring is right around the corner. Thank GOD. We can finally escape the confines of our homes and venture out into the great unknown, or just head to Door County. After spending months on our butts, making business deals from the couch and watching every episode of The Office over and over until we can’t remember if we attended Jim and Pam’s wedding or if that was just TV, we may have to take extra care as we hop on a plane or get into a car for Spring Break. As a chiropractor for sciatica in Springfield, Illinois, I know how travel can exacerbate sciatic nerve pain and ruin a family vacation.

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(It feels so familiar)

Sciatica is always inconvenient. “Now would be the perfect time to get sciatica”, said no one ever. Sciatica symptoms will try to ruin every aspect of our lives, but it is possible for us to emerge victoriously. Not only have we been sitting for months, destroying our posture and increasing our chances for sciatica, but the sitting that is required for traveling can exacerbate the pain that we may be trying to manage. If only there was a way to get to Key Largo without sitting.

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Sciatica shouldn’t be the reason we have to cancel a trip or delay the break that we have all earned over this, truly insane, winter. So here are 5 tips for traveling with sciatica.

1. Pack Smart

This is a perennial issue for a lot of us. We go on a weekend trip and pack 10 outfits because we don’t know what we’ll feel like wearing and we want to be prepared for any scenario. First, I think we all need to hear that we look great no matter what we wear. Our personalities outshine our fashion. Secondly, enough with the overpacking. We pack 10 outfits and then wear the same pants the whole damn time for which our mothers make fun of us.

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  • Heavy luggage makes our backs work overtime, which can provoke sciatica. If necessary, split one heavy bag into two manageable ones.
  • Utilize curbside check-in. It makes one feel like a celebrity and minimizes luggage handling.
  • Use carry-on luggage with 4 wheels. That 2-wheeled luggage is so 2006. All the new trendy luggage brands are 4 wheel drive which makes it easier to steer and supports a relaxed, but healthy walking posture.
  • And I don’t know who needs to hear this, but someone with low back pain who lifts a heavy bag into a trunk or overhead bin is not a hero, they’re an idiot.

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2. Stay Loose

There’s a reason that our first instinct in the morning is to stretch, accompanied by a high-pitched squeal. (It’s not a real stretch without the squeal, medically speaking.) Our muscles are desperate for it after a long, hopefully peaceful, night.

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Stretching is a great way to relieve sciatica pain by taking pressure off of the sciatic nerve roots. Isometric exercises in the legs, hips, and truck will help the body fend off the negative effects of sitting.

In a plane, grab an aisle seat so that it’s easy to get up and stretch when things start to feel tight. People may stare, but believe me, they’ll be doing those stretches on the return flight. The kids might get embarrassed, but what doesn’t embarrass them? They’ll be happy to have a healthy and functioning parent when grandkids enter the picture. And trust me when I say, flight attendants have seen weirder things than someone doing deep knee bends against a bulkhead.

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In a car, make sure to take plenty of stops. Buy a lottery ticket in each state, taste test a different potato chip flavor, and stretch those hamstrings. The activity formerly known as a “Chinese fire drill” will keep the spine limber and is a great family bonding activity.

3. Massage

The right kind of massage can be an incredible tool for sciatica pain relief. Stiffness in both our joints and muscles can lead to sciatica pain. Massage is the perfect medicine for this. Relieving muscle tension can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve and alleviate the shooting, burning pain.

Massage also releases endorphins. Sweet, sweet endorphins. Endorphins are a natural chemical that fight pain and lower stress levels. They’re a natural anti-anxiety medicine. The lower our stress level the better chance our body has to fight off illness and heal quickly.

Massage is really the perfect vacation activity, so there’s kind of no excuse.

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4. Don’t Forget Healthy Habits

It’s easy to let our healthy habits go when we’re poolside. Sciatica hates a healthy diet, restful sleep, and physical activity. On vacation, we probably need more rest than normal, so indulge. Stay hydrated and stay mobile. Instead of having a Pina colada delivered, go and get it. The walk to the bar won’t kill us, it’ll make us stronger.

It is a myth that bed rest or inactivity helps relieve sciatica pain. Exercise, stretching, any movement really, is actually the best way to manage pain and can also help address the underlying issue of sciatic nerve pain.

5. Leave Sciatica At Home

The best tip I can offer is to not even bother bringing sciatica along for the ride. Come see us at the Springfield Wellness Center and we’ll take care of sciatica pain…for good.

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Whether the cause of sciatica is a herniated disc, subluxation, muscle tension and inflammation, poor posture, there is no one better equipped to find the underlying cause than a chiropractor. Chiropractic care works to find the underlying cause of the pain and correct that, rather than cover up the pain with a temporary solution. Massage, deep tissue laser, custom therapeutic exercise routines, these are all different treatment options to relieve pain and get rid of sciatica for good.

The most powerful tool at our disposal is the chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments restore proper spinal structure to relieve pressure on the nerves and tension from overburdened muscles. A strong nervous system is essential to every function in our body, including those we don’t spend the day whining about. Regular spinal maintenance ensures we avoid the pain and disease that keeps us from our dream vacation. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors so we can put an end to debilitating sciatica and lower back pain before the tickets have been booked.

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