Traveling is a fun experience for most of us, is it not? But when you have to sit long hours in an airplane before you reach your final destination, it can be stressful on your back. Some flights take more than half a day — one of the longest flights is New York – Singapore and it takes more than 18 hours non stop.
Unless you fly first class, you will most likely find your seat quite small and uncomfortable, especially in such a long trip. It also depends on who is sitting next to you, and unlucky you if the person next to you is a stranger who takes a lot of space and keeps on moving.
The minimal airline space provided by airline companies will not give you enough room to properly stretch your arms and legs. In addition, your seat headrest won’t do anything other than pushing your neck forward, while the back of the seat will not recline as far as you would want.
Check out our 5 tips to help you better manage your back pain before and during your flight, below.
1. Find The Best Schedule
Booking your flight is the first and crucial step for staying comfortable during your plane ride. Think about the type of schedule that will be least stressful on you and your back. As much as possible, try not to travel during peak seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas, when most flights and airports are overcrowded, which will increase the stress.
Consider booking a flight when there are fewer people on board, such as during low season or choosing days of the week with fewer travelers, depending on the route. Often the middle of the week is less crowded, as both tourists and business people tend to travel closer to the weekend. This will provide you more room to lie down across the seat and walk around whenever you can.
2. Contact The Airline Company
Many if not all airline companies cater to the different health conditions of their passengers. Calling them prior to scheduling your flight will shed some insight on how the route you are planning on taking can potentially be crowded.
Let them know of your back pain and ask for flight recommendations. This way they may suggest schedules or book you a seat near the emergency exit wherein there is more space to stand and stretch your legs.
3. Support Your Back
Among the many health tips given to you by your physician, supporting the inward curve of your spine is a very important method for you to prevent lower back pain. It is common to use a couple of pillows or a back roll to fix your sitting posture and prevent slouching.
You can also request these from a flight attendant and he or she will be more than willing to offer them to you. The airplane personal will always find a good supply of pillows if needed, this way you can make your back as comfortable as possible.
4. Bring Over-The-Counter Meds
If you are anticipating that the plane ride will be crowded or that it will be very stressful on your back, you can take your pain medication an hour before you board. This will allow the medicine to get into your system and ease the body pain that you could possibly experience.
Carry pain medications like Advil or Tylenol in a clear plastic bag to be able to spot them immediately. Have them with you in your carry-on bag at all times just in case you need them during the flight.
It is also wise to inform flight attendants about your condition and that you are on medication. Therefore they can monitor and help you find ways to stay more comfortable.
For a longer-term solution try some natural supplements such as turmeric curcumin which has shown good results with pain issues, including back pain. Turmeric for inflammation can be bought as OTC pills. As inflammation is often a major cause of physical pain, reducing inflammation may reduce pain too.
5. Move Around
Staying in a stationary position for hours can, of course, generate more stress into your back and spine. This can also cause your back pain to get much worse.
Look around and find a spot or space like a pantry where you can do some quick stretches. See if there is a place for you at the back of the plane where you can move around to ease your body’s stiffness.
You can even walk back and forth around the entire plane, when food is not served or when most people are resting. This will give you a nice relaxing stroll and it can be a lot of fun to people watch.
Following the above tips for back pain prevention will help you arrive at your destination pain-free. This will put you in a good mood to tackle your business meetings or explore and enjoy your vacation with your friends and family as soon as you land from the plane.