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How long until traveling long distance in car would be possible?

tracibennttracibenn Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm planning a road trip for the last weekend in April. I had my surgery Feb 1. Will this be too soon to sit in car for a long distance?


  • My Hub and Went to visit family 5 1/2 hours by car over Christmas. I had my surgery on Nov 3rd. It was okay riding...I didn't drive. I did drive 5 1/2 hours down to see my mother on Jan 12th and I was fine. Your shoulders get tight and I advise to stop every few hours to stretch your legs. I think you'll be fine. How long is your drive? Oooh and I see you are a lower back spiney. Yeah I'd make frequent stops and stretch/walk. Maybe another L5 S1 spiney will chime in.
  • I'll be driving from Kansas City to New Orleans...which is about a 14 hour drive. We'll be doing the drive in one day, but I think my saving grace will be that my friend going with me has to pee nearly every hour. That will give me a chance to stretch!
  • It might make your 14 hr trip a little longer, but your friends lack of bladder control will probably be your saving grace..lol. I know when I make the trip "home" (8hrs) it always ends up taking us 9-10, but when I get out of the car then I'm not much more stiff than normal. The pain is usually a little worse that night and the next day. Those trips take a lot out of me, but I wish I were headed out on one myself. Ooops, I'm not a lower back patient, just adding my thoughts.
  • I notice that you'll be just over 2 months post op by the time you travel - I would think that's quite early days for such a long drive (14 hours you say?).

    Do you have to make this journey in April? If you cannot postpone your journey for a month or so to at least give yourself a little more time to heal, then having a friend who takes frequent 'comfort breaks' will indeed help you alot, as Robin said.

    Make sure you take one or two firm pillows/cushions to support your back and make you as comfortable as possible before you start your journey.

    Will your friend share the driving? If so, is there enough room on the back seat for you to at least stretch out and lay down at intervals during your journey if needed? Or does the front passenger seat recline sufficiently for you to do this comfortably?

    Perhaps your doctor can prescribe some strong pain meds (that won't impair your driving responses) should you need them if your back becomes painful. And one bit of advice I would give here is don't wait until your back hurts alot before you stop and take a break, because you'll pay for it later on! As soon as it becomes 'uncomfortable', stop and walk around for about 10 minutes at least if you can.

    Perhaps, when you come back, you'll let us know how the journey there/back went and, if you did experience difficulties, what you had to do to resolve them. Hopefully, though, it won't be too bad.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Have your medication with you because your probably going to need it! I won't sugar coat it, 14 hours is a long time to ride being two months post op.

    Maybe look at at doing half of the trip one day,stop at a hotel and do the other half the next day.

    You may be able to make it in one day, but I doubt the drive is going to be enjoyable.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    taking any type of long car ride. I would check with your doctor , letting him know your plans and see what he says.

    To avoid any added problems, I would recommend that you are in the car driving, no more than 90 minutes at a time. You then need to get out, walk around, stretch, etc. Then after about 10 minutes continue on your voyage.

    Having pillows is a good idea and making sure you have enough medications.

    Good luck with the upcoming trip
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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