How To Prevent Back Pain While Flying

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 9, 2015

back pain while flying

The holidays are right around the corner, and millions of people use the season to visit family members or jet off to a tropical location. A little time away from home can be just what the doctor ordered, unless of course your back pain flares up and ruins your trip. We’ve already discussed how you can prevent back pain during a road trip, but pain management is a little different on a plane. Today we share some tips for preventing back pain when you’re 30,000 feet in the air.

Back Pain Before You Board

Preventing back pain while flying begins before you even arrive at the airport. If you want to make your journey as pain free as possible, you need to plan ahead while you’re packing. Make sure you pack your pain medications in your carry on so you’ll have access to them on the flight. Per TSA guidelines, you’ll want to keep your prescriptions in their original bottle. Also, it’s illegal to bring medical marijuana, even if you have a prescription for your back pain, so leave that at home. In addition to medicines, be sure to pack a small pillow to help you get comfortable on the plane, and pack a book or tablet to entertain you while you’re in the air. If you’re mind is focused on something else, you won’t be as likely to notice pain.

Now that you’re packed and ready to hit the road, the next thing you’ll want to do is leave early. You’re not going to want to be running through the terminals to catch your flight, especially if you have back pain, and airports always see a spike in travelers during the holidays. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security checkpoints and to your terminal. If you arrive early to your gait, do some light stretches to keep your back loose. If you’re going to grab a bite to eat before getting on the plane, opt for a healthy snack. Junk food can cause bouts of inflammation, so avoid unhealthy options before you board.

Boarding and In The Air

Generally airports allow certain people to board early. Seniors, military personnel, families with small children and people with disabilities can typically board before other passengers. If your back pain is truly an issue, consider getting a note from your licensed doctor. Present this note to the agents at the boarding terminal so they can help you get on the plane before it gets too busy. This way, you know there will be room for your carry-on and your medications.

Once you’re on the plane, and yes, we know this practice may be frowned upon, but see if you can switch seats with someone on the aisle. That way you can easily get up and stretch when the captain turns off the seatbelt sign, and it will give you a little more room to stretch you legs. Also, when you’re booking your trip, see if you can pick an aisle seat. Oftentimes aisle seats are classified with a “C” or a “D” as rows are generally labeled using the ABC, DEF system, where C and D are split by the aisle.

Even if you can’t secure an aisle seat, try and get up and move about the cabin to stretch your back for a few minutes every hour. Doing so will help prevent your back from getting stiff and painful.

Flying with back pain isn’t always easy, but you can keep it at bay by following the above preventative tips. For more information on how to keep your back from hurting on long flights, speak to your back pain specialist.


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