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Low Back Pain Travel Tips: Part 3

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Low Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) and the discussion of traveling tips will be concluded this month. Please refer to the last 2 months for other great traveling tips. Keep a copy of these in your travel bag!

BE PROACTIVE WITH THE AIRLINES: 1. Get an aisle seat. Request an aisle seat out of “medical necessity.” By stating it this way, the airlines will go out of their way to find you an aisle seat. It is easier to exit the seat in case you have to use the restroom or an emergency occurs. It also allows you to get up and walk around for exercise, which can reduce the irritation of LBP and reduce the chances of blood clots. We can provide a letter to travel with stating that you have LBP, which can help you get special considerations. 2. Request a wheelchair. Make sure the airline knows you would like a wheelchair. They will handle your carry-on, get you through security quicker, and get you to and from the gate in a safe, timely manner. Typically this request is done at the time you make your reservation, but you can also tell a flight attendant prior to landing and they will have it arranged by the time you de-plane at your arrival site. Since there is no way to know how long the security line will be or how long the distance will be between gates or to baggage claim, having a wheel chair pre-arranged is wise. 3. Request a row of seats. Typically, if the plane isn’t full, you can ask for a row of seats that are empty so you can put the arm rests up and spread out, lay down and be much more comfortable. 4. Recline your seat. Depending on your type of low back condition, you may feel most comfortable either in a vertical upright position or reclined position. Some seats, such as in the exit row or last row, do not recline so ask when booking your flight or when you check-in to make sure your seat is adjustable. 5. Stay stretched. Prolonged sitting has many negative effects on muscles, joints, and circulation. Performing stretches from sitting or standing can help a lot, especially on long flights. Ask us to show you some easy-to-perform exercises that can be done in confined spaces! 6. Pre-board. This option allows you to board the plane first and gives you extra time. 7. Handicapped parking sticker. Consider this if walking is challenging for you. We can assist you in this effort and it will allow you to park close to the entrance at the airport. 8. Get a seat assignment. Getting “bumped” is common practice these days due to airlines purposely over-booking. If you do not initially obtain a seat assignment, call the airlines immediately to obtain a seat. Getting bumped can mean a delay for a couple hours up to a couple days!

SIT WITH SUPPORT: 1. Back Support. Using a special back support (if possible) or even a rolled up towel, pillow, or airline blanket between your back and seat can really help decrease low back pain. A small water bottle (tighten the cap!) is also a good option. The “bottom line” is comfort. If it feels good and relieving, it will be of benefit and help you. 2. Sit “supported.” Sitting with your knees bent at a right angle (90°) pushing your feet into the floor can be relieving and offer good support, especially during take-offs and landings. Also, stretch your legs out straight periodically under the seat ahead of you. You may have to place your briefcase or carry-on behind your legs, in front of your seat to open up the space so you can stretch out. Lastly, drink plenty of water, slip your shoes off at times, get up and walk periodically, carry a note from us for special needs, and most importantly, ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT!!!

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment for back pain treatment in San Francisco Call 415-392-2225

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain Travel Tips: Part 2

treatment for low back pain in SF
low back pain travel tips

Medication Foresight:

Get a prescription: If you know your prescription will run out prior to your return from traveling, either get it re-filled before you leave or get a prescription from your primary care doctor to bring with you. If traveling to a foreign country, many medications have different names so make sure it’s the same medicine when you’re filling the script away from home.

  1. Keep your medication with you. Do NOT place it in your checked bags in case your luggage is lost. It can take days (or longer) before your bags finally reach you.
  2. Bring an OTC backup. If there is a similar over-the-counter (OTC) medication, bring that with you. (Check with your prescribing physician, of course.) Ask us about anti-inflammatory &/or muscle relaxing herbs &/or vitamins. Keep a list of vitamins, herbs, and medications with you at all times.
  3. Keep your medication in their original containers. This could eliminate the need to explain to security what each pill is for, and may help avoid them from being confiscated.

Pain Relief Tactics:

  1. ICE IS NICE! But, traveling with ice is tricky, as it warms up and melts over time. We recommend traveling with several sized Ziploc bags that a flight attendant can fill with ice for you. Pinch it between the seat and your lower back and rotate it on and off in 15-20 minute intervals. Repeat the process for the length of time the ice lasts (which is usually several applications). Chemical ice packs also work well. Make sure if you bring an ice pack or gel pack with you that it will be allowed through security. The flight attendant should allow it to be placed into the refrigerator between uses.
  2. HEAT IS NEAT! The use of heat for chronic low back pain can be very effective, but use ice if the LBP is acute or a new problem. If in doubt, try both ice and heat before leaving so you can determine which one works better for you. You can also alternate between ice and heat, but start and end with ice if the LBP is acute. If LBP is chronic, start and end with heat. We often suggest 10 min./5 min./10 min./5 min./10 min. cycles (total of 40 minutes), starting/ending with either ice (if acute LBP) or heat (if LBP is chronic). There are disposable heat packs available, but remember, limit each dose to no more than 20 minutes to avoid pooling of blood in the LBP area. Commercial heat wraps (such as ThermaCare) can also be used. Make sure security will allow the passage of any heat gel pack.
  3. OTC Pain Patch or gels. There are both prescription and non-Rx pain patches available (such as Bengay Pain Patch). Similarly, heat or coolant rubs or gels can also provide pain relief and reduce the needs for medication.
  4. TENS unit. These produce a pain reducing electrical current where a small unit is placed in your pocket or on your belt that connects wire electrodes to sticky pads placed in the area of pain. These can work well for some people, so try it before you leave to see if you like the result. We can obtain these and train you, as well as provide you with a letter to take with you while traveling to show to security.

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment for low back pain treatment in San Francisco call 415-392-2225

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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Low Back Pain and Sleep: Part 2

 

low back pain san francisco
Low Back Pain and Sleep

            Last month, we discussed the relationship between sleep deprivation and low back pain (LBP) and found that LBP can cause sleep loss AND sleep loss can cause LBP. It’s a 2-way street! This month, we will look at ways to improve your sleep quality, which in return, will reduce your LBP. There are many ways we can improve our sleep quality. Here are some of them:

  1. Turn off the lights: Complete darkness (or as close to it as possible) is best. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes.
  2. Stay cool! The bedroom’s temperature should be ≤70 degrees F (21 degrees C). At about four hours after you fall asleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level. Scientists report a cooler bedroom mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
  3. Move the alarm clock. Keeping it out of reach (at least 3 feet) forces you to get out of bed and get moving in the AM. Also, you won’t be inclined to stare at it during the night!
  4. Avoid loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
  5. Reserve your bed for sleeping. Avoid watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep.
  6. Get to bed before 11pm. Your adrenal system does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and adrenal “burn-out” results in fatigue and other problems.
  7. Be consistent about your bed time. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, including weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
  8. Establish a bedtime routine. Consider meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy, or essential oils, or massage from your partner. Relax and reduce your tension from the day.
  9. Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed to provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production.

There are other “tricks” that ensure a good night’s rest that we will continue with next month as this is a VERY important subject and can literally add years to your life and life to your years.

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

 To schedule an appointment for low back pain treatment in San Francisco call 415-392-2225

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle PlusYouTube