Tips for Avoiding Back Pain While Flying

Those of a certain age can recall when airlines had sufficient legroom, headroom, and general space for all passengers. These days, unless you are flying in first or business class, airline travel is akin to riding in a flying bus. If you suffer from back pain, a long airline flight can make the situation worse.

Here are some tips for avoiding back pain while flying that can help you get to your destination pain-free. If you have specific concerns about back pain while traveling, speak with a back-pain doctor to create a plan that works for you.

Work Out Regularly Beforehand

Stay in the best physical shape and strengthen muscles critical for back support by working out regularly before the flight. Upon reaching the destination, continue the workout schedule as time allows to keep muscles in condition for the flight back.

Book the Right Seat

If possible, book the best seat for the body’s requirements. Tall people should look for a seat on the aisle. Shorter people may want to bring along a device to keep feet elevated – but check first to ensure the airline permits it on the plane.

Move Around

On a long flight, try to get up and move around at least once every hour. When standing, stretch and bend forward and backward. When seated, move as much as possible by stretching the calves and bringing the knees up to the chest. Long flights can cause blood clots, but regular movement reduces the risk.

The Doctor’s Note

If a back condition is ongoing, get a note from the doctor before the flight. Such a note will prove to the crew that there is a legitimate medical reason for regular movement during the flight. It is also wise to schedule a flight when the plane is less likely to be full, as this allows for easier movement and even the possibility of an adjacent empty seat to stretch out on.

Take Medication on the Plane

Keep a bottle of ibuprofen or a similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on in case the back pain becomes unbearable. Anyone who suffers from back pain regularly may want to take an NSAID prior to boarding the plane.

Spine Support

It is vital to sit properly during the flight and a good idea to bring some sort of spinal support along. If bringing a back roll is not feasible, ask the flight attendant for a pillow or roll up a blanket for lumbar support.

Drink Plenty of Water

Avoid alcohol during the flight, as it is dehydrating, but drink plenty of water and unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverages. It is a good idea to drink more water than usual several days prior to the trip. Hydration is critical for joint comfort, as well as keeping discs in optimal shape, and the interior of the cabin is dry. Consuming a great deal of water does mean an increase in trips to the restroom, but that also means additional moving around, which is helpful in preventing pain.

Avoid Heavy Luggage

Pack as lightly as possible to avoid back strain while hauling luggage around. Even worse is trying to stuff a bag into an overhead bin, which can wreak havoc on the back. If necessary, ask a flight attendant to help put the bag in the bin.

Speak with a Doctor to Hear More Tips for Avoiding Back Pain While Flying

If you suspect back pain may be an issue for you while traveling, consult with an Elite Spine & Orthopedics doctor to create a preventive plan. They can help you take precautions to prevent back pain if it is a current issue for you, and diagnose your condition so you can receive the treatment you need. (727) 804-3114.