Preventing Back Pain On Your Next Long Flight

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 23, 2019

Back Pain Travel

If you’re flying home for the holidays or are jetting off to a tropical vacation, you’re going to be spending a few hours in an airplane, and that can be extremely uncomfortable if you’re prone to back pain. However, if you plan ahead and are aware of some back pain triggers, we’re confident you can reduce your risk of having a flare up on your way to your destination. In today’s blog, we share some quick tips to keep in mind when you’re traveling by plane to keep from stressing and straining your spine.

Flying And Your Spine

When it comes to protecting your spine on a plane, it really comes down to planning ahead and being proactive. All of the following tips keep one or both of those thoughts in mind.

  • Stretch – Before you board the plane, take a little time to move around and stretch. You’re going to be confined to an uncomfortable seat for the next few hours, so stretch your body a bit to help facilitate healthy blood flow throughout your body and to your spine.
  • Move When You Can – Along a similar line of thinking, if the captain ever removes the “Fasten SeatBelt” light, take advantage of your ability to move about the cabin. Stand up and stretch a little or head to the bathroom and back. Anything you can do to change your posture and take some stress off your lumbar spine, even if it’s just for a few minutes, will give these muscles groups the breaks they need to help avoid an injury.
  • Manage Your Meds – If you know that long seated periods cause your chronic low back pain to flare up, try to stay ahead of your pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or your prescription medications. Always take them as directed and never mix them with alcohol, but if you expect the flight to cause problems, try to stay ahead of your pain instead of waiting for a flare up to arrive.
  • Overhead Management – If you don’t have the greatest spine, be careful about loading your carry-on into the overhead compartment. Many carry-ons are heavy, and trying to lift these bags in a small area and shove it into an overhead bin can put a lot of strain on your spine. Ask for assistance, limit the weight of your carry-on bag and use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading the overhead storage area.
  • Try To Get Comfortable – A lot of flights allow you to select your seat if you book early enough, so try to select a seat that will make the flight a little more comfortable. The window seat can make it easier to get comfortable if you pack a small pillow to lean on, and the aisle seat can make it easier to get up and move when possible. Middle seats are often the most uncomfortable, so avoid those when possible. Also, pack a small pillow, an eye mask or noise canceling headphones to help block out distractions and help you fall asleep if that’s how you plan on passing time on the potentially uncomfortable flight.
  • Hydrate – Finally, make sure you hydrate before and during your flight. Staying hydrated helps blood flow through your system more easily and can help avoid problems like muscle spasms or cramps. Grab a water before you get on the plane or get one from the attendants as they walk through the cabin. Alcohol, coffee and sodas can actually dehydrate our bodies, so limit their intake, especially on long flights.

For help with any of your spine issues this season, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his staff today.


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