Tips for Traveling After Spine Surgery
Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 3:06PM
Fried Nerves and Jam

Tips for Traveling after Spine Surgery!

 

A friend just asked for some advice as she will be traveling to Hawaii with her family after a spine surgery. These are my thoughts after having lived & learned!

 

🌺Call the airline prior to departure and let them know you’ll need early boarding due to your condition. 

 

🌺If you have a long layover somewhere, request access (may need to purchase entry) to the airline’s lounge so you can lay down if needed. 

 

🌺You can request that an airline employee meet you at check-in with a wheelchair to escort you to the gate and on-board so you don’t have to walk. I’d suggest an aisle seat closer to the lavatory so you can more easily access the restroom when needed. 

 

🌺Let the airline also know prior - to that in case of an emergency you may need assistance exiting the plane. Be sure to let them know if you can manage a flight of 8-10 stairs without assistance. If not, they will need to know to have a wheelchair and lift ready for you upon arrival. Especially in Hawaii as many exit the plane via a stairway. 

 

🌺 At the hotel, request a room closer to the elevator to prevent unnecessary walking. (Exercise is one thing, Pain is another!)

 

🌺If you’re post-op, you may not be able or willing to go to lunches/dinners as easily if you’re having a tough time. I always request a mini fridge when traveling and stock it w milk, vino 😉 and food. Plus it saves a ton of money when the kids want cereal at midnight! 

 

🌺Sitting for long periods is going to be difficult. I bring at least 2 squishy pillows (not a brand, just pillows that are firm yet squishy. Not really feather pillows, more of mashable tempurpedic typ so it can contort and still support)  with me so I can adjust positions to make myself comfortable in the airplane seat and during travel in general, even in the car! You can curl your knees up and cushion the armrest for them, or pad the window area etc. One for your head, or neck, lumbar and or knees. 

 

🌺Prescription Lidoderm Patches help a lot in distributing subdermal lidocaine to help anesthetize the area. 

 

🌺Drink a TON of water. Your spine depends on being hydrated to heal and traveling sucks it right out of you. 

 

🌺Make sure any lounge chairs you use lean back at least 45 degrees and beware of the classic long chairs with hinged recline! These put an extreme amount of pressure on your spine. This is when the pillows come in! I keep a squishy type pillow with me everywhere I go. No shame here! It can also be a great lumbar support even at dinner!

 

🌺When laying on your side (the beach or in bed) place a folded pillow under your waist to lift it from the bed / ground to align your properly releasing pressure, and one between your knees. At night use at least 2-3 pillows under your head when sleeping. This will again level your spine while releasing pressure on the cervical spine’s nerves exiting to your arms. Note to self, you may never want to sleep another way again 😉 

 

🌺When site seeing in a car, always keep a folding beach chair that reclines with you at all times with a pillow and blanket or towel). This way you can Stop no matter where you are and participate but also take care of your spine and your pain levels. Reclining with lumbar support is key. 

 

🌺Pack a heating pad with you and have a pack of frozen peas available for use at night if possible. 

 

🌺Through trial and error I finally found the perfect sneaker with best arch support ever that even made a massive difference in easing my gate in physical therapy, the Nike Pegasus. (Dang wish I could get paid for this endorsement!🤓). When traveling, shoes are more important than anything else you could possibly wear when recovering from spine surgery. 

 

🌺 Wear a Velcro based back brace at all times (unless you’re just wantin’ to be sexy). This makes a world of difference that you’ll notice as soon as you take it off. The most important part of the body in charge of spine support is your core!!!! I don’t have enough exclamation points! When learning to walk again, it’s my stomach muscles that hurt so much afterward, more than my legs! Anything you can do to strengthen, tighten this region is IT!

 

🌺On the health end of things, here’s the deal. 90% of pain is INFLAMMATION. Sugar and alcohol are like pouring gasoline on a fire. Think about this when traveling. It’s so easy to want to embibe, just be aware of the cost when post-op or otherwise. 

 

🌺But most of all, don’t be a hero or a martyr. Us Moms are the worst! We don’t want to get in the way of our kids’ fun etc on a vacation, but remember you just had MAJOR surgery. I don’t care what they say, anytime they go into our spine, which is literally connected to every other part of our body, it’s a huge deal and recovery can be a beast. Like they say, oxygen goes to Mommy first! Think of your spine as another child. She’s scared and timid and in pain so taking care of it is being a good Mama! The more You accept that it’s ok to comfort yourself during this time, the faster you’ll heal and decrease the chances of hurting yourself further along the way. Even just sitting on your tailbone the wrong way for too long can send you into spasm.  

 

I hope this helps anyone heading out on a fantastic journey! Enjoy! 🦋

 

#accessibletravel #ada #ontgeroadsgain #postoptravel #backpain #spinesurgery #spinerecovery Spine-health DISC Sports & Spine Center

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