Anyone with back pain knows that sitting down for a long time almost guarantees to make it worse.
That's why the thought of sitting on an airplane for a long flight is terrifying to a person suffering from back pain.
When the seats for airplanes were designed, they did not have your back pain in mind.
Their goal was to fit as many seats on board as possible, not to keep your back healthy.
That's why you have to take matters into your own hands if you are suffering from back pain and have a long flight coming up.
You don't want your back pain to keep you from going on your trip, but you also want to be able to move once you get there.
In the article below, we'll discuss eight ways to manage and prevent back pain during a long flight so you can hit the ground running as soon as you land.
Table Of Contents
- Ask Your Chiropractor For Help
- Talk To The Airline
- Schedule Your Flight Strategically
- Bring OTC Medications
- Support Your Back During The Flight
- Be Mindful Of Your Posture
- Move Around During The Flight
- Get Some Rest And Relaxation
- See Your Chiropractor And Book Your Flight
1. Ask Your Chiropractor For Help
Your chiropractor will be one of your best advocates when preparing for a long flight.
Schedule an appoint with them before your flight and they can perform an adjustment for you to prepare you for the journey.
They may also be able to write a letter to the airline and flight crew.
Certain airlines have been criticized for poor customer service, but a letter from a chiropractor might be what it takes to persuade the crew to allow special accommodations.
You might not like the idea of painkillers, but in this instance it might be necessary.
Your chiropractor can't prescribe medications, but he or she can recommend over the counter medications, or refer you to a doctor who can if it's necessary.
2. Talk To The Airline
Don't wait until the day of your flight to talk to the airline about your back pain.
A few weeks before the trip, give them a call to let them know about your medical condition.
With the advanced notice, they should be able to provide you with necessary medical attention via wheelchair assistance or early boarding.
They can also assist you with your luggage, setup special shuttles and elevator platforms for boarding, and provide you with any tips/advice to make it easier for you to travel.
They can also allow non-medical assistants to accompany you through security and boarding.
You never know what they can do for you until you ask.
3. Schedule Your Flight Strategically
When booking your flight, try to determine what type of schedule will be the least stressful for you.
Try to book a flight that will have just a few people on board and more room for you to lie down across seats.
This is something else the airline can advise you on when you give them a call and talk to them about your back pain.
Try to limit layovers if possible, and don't schedule a flight that will require you to wake up extremely early.
You want to be able to ease into your day, not be thrust into it.
4. Bring OTC Pain Medications
If your chiropractor recommended any over-the-counter pain medications, be sure to bring them just in case.
You'll want to be able to utilize Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve to provide back pain relief on your flight if it is absolutely necessary.
If your back pain is severe enough, go ahead and take some medication an hour before your flight to give it time to get into your system.
You'll want to carry your pain medications together in a clear plastic bag and have them on you at all times in case you need them again during your flight.
Let the flight attendants know you're on medications so they can monitor you accordingly.
5. Support Your Back During The Flight
Providing support behind your lower back, often with a back roll or a couple of pillows, is a good way to keep your spine straight and prevent slouching that may lead to back pain.
Don't be afraid to ask a flight attendant for a couple of extra pillows; they will be more than happy to give them to you.
Back braces, tube-shaped pillows with microfibers, and other materials that can provide support are frequent companions of passengers with back pain and can be purchased inexpensively at many stores and online.
6. Be Mindful Of Your Posture
Airplane rides can be tight and uncomfortable, especially if you aren't in first-class or business class.
If your legs aren't positioned at a right angle when you're sitting in an airplane seat, ask for pillows or blankets to prop up your feet and keep your knees at a right angle.
Doing this will keep stress off of your lower back and keep you comfortable.
If you have long legs, request an exit row or bulkhead seat, which generally have more legroom.
In addition to this here are some additional overlooked remedies for back pain.
7. Move Around During The Flight
Staying still for too long stresses your spine and can make your back pain much worse.
If possible, do some stretching at the back of the plan which can provide more flexibility to the back and ease stiffness.
Try to get up and walk every 30 minutes to make sure your back doesn't get too stiff.
A quick walk up and down the aisles is better than being in your seat for hours on end.
Of course, obey all in-flight rules and don't get up during turbulence.
8. Get Some Rest and Relaxation
A long flight means you will have plenty of time to rest and relax.
Although it's important to get up and move, it's also important to get some rest.
Get as comfortable as you can with a back or neck support, sitting properly in your seat, and taking your pain medication if necessary.
Take long, deep breathes to put yourself at ease and to relax your muscles and nerves.
Put on your headphones and relax to a movie or a relaxing music playlist.
Or, if you'd rather read, be sure to bring a novel you can get lost in during the flight to divert some of your attention away from your back pain.
Do whatever is necessary to put you at ease to make the long flight bearable.
See Your Chiropractor And Book Your Flight
Don't let your back pain keep you from living your life.
Although it would be ideal to fly with a healthy back, that's not always possible.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make the flight easier so you don't miss a beat as soon as you land.
The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your chiropractor so they can be sure everything is in order before you get on your flight.
If you don't have a chiropractor, contact the Arrowhead Clinic.
They have years of experience and expertise helping people just like you, and they'd love to help you today.
Click the button below to get started.