Don't Fear Flying When You Have Back Pain — Use These Strategies To Keep Your Pain At Bay

Managing your back pain on a day-by-day basis can be challenging in its own right, but when you're traveling by airplane this summer, the prospect of keeping your back pain at bay can seem daunting. Airplane seats aren't known for their comfort, and the confined quarters you'll experience — often for several hours at a time — put you at the risk of being stiff and sore by the time you land. While you might wish to visit your chiropractor for an adjustment in the days leading up to your flight, here are some other things that you can do to minimize your discomfort when traveling by air.

Be Smart About Booking

If possible, try to schedule your flight when it won't be as crowded. For example, flights that depart early in the morning are often less full than those that leave later in the morning, given the average traveler's resistance to arriving in the airport at an unreasonable hour. If you're able to get on a flight that isn't very full, you'll often be able to stretch your legs into the empty space beside you, which can often alleviate your lower back pain. Additionally, when there are fewer people in the plane, you'll have an easier time getting up and walking up and down the aisle to prevent your back from stiffening up.

Stretch While You Wait

It's tempting to get to the airport, grab a coffee and take a seat at your departure gate, but given that you'll be sitting on the plane, all this sitting can worsen your pain. As you wait for the time to board, consider performing some stretches. Simple things such as trunk rotations, in which you turn from side to side, and back curls, in which you curl your spine and bend forward, can keep your back limbered up. It's also a good idea to walk; walking can often reduce back pain, and given that you'll be stuck in the airplane soon enough, you should take advantage of the chance to move around the airport. Some airports even have massage clinics to help loosen up your muscles before long flights.

Ask For Pillows

Supporting your back with a pillow or a rolled piece of clothing can help. Depending on your type of back pain, a pillow placed at the small of your back can provide comfort during long periods of sitting. If you've forgotten to pack a small pillow, there's no need to suffer. Simply ask a flight attendant for a pillow and he or she should be able to loan you one for the flight.

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