Unless you’re shelling out big bucks for first class ticket, chances are you feel like a sardine when you fly the friendly skies. Coach class offers little legroom to be desired, and economy isn’t much of an upgrade. So you suffer from a severe lack of space, wishing the seat reclined just a little bit more. After a long flight, even young, healthy and agile passengers may experience neck or back pain. In fact, almost 90% of passengers report back or neck pain after a flight. But there is hope! Ideal Spine Health shares their tips for protecting your back on a long flight, so you can arrive to your destination in tip-top shape.
Before Your Flight
Preparing for your flight can reduce back pain during your journey. Book your flight well in advance so you can request an aisle seat. Aisle seats give you a little more wiggle room and give you the freedom to get out of your seat to stretch your legs with relative ease. It may cost you a few dollars more, but requesting to be seated in an exit row – gives you substantially more leg room. If your flight does not have assigned seats, be sure to utilize online check in or arrive to your terminal early to ensure early boarding.
During Your Flight
Airline seats force your body into uncomfortable and often painful positions. While you can’t make these seats more comfortable, there are some things you can do to make your flight more bearable.
- Use a travel pillow. Placing a pillow behind your back or around your neck will keep your spine aligned and prevent slouching, protecting the natural curve of your neck.
- Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. If you have short legs, prop your feet up with something to put them in alignment with your hips.
- Move often. Yes, moving is difficult on a plane but it’s not impossible. When the seatbelt sign is off, take a walk to the bathroom or quickly stand up and stretch. Movement prevents stiffness, which can lead to pain.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can worsen back pain, so drink water instead of diuretics such as alcohol, coffee, or tea.
After Your Flight
The best thing you can do after a long flight is keep moving. Your body is not meant to stay in a seated position for long periods of time, so give it a break and avoid sitting for as long as possible. Continue to stretch out your body and relax those tense muscles. Once you have arrived at your destination, apply heat to your back for 30 minutes – this will treat any achy or tight muscles and help prevent more permanent pain.
If you are still experiencing back or neck pain upon your return home, don’t hesitate to see a professional. Our experienced chiropractors can help you discover a solution and ease your discomfort. Contact Ideal Spine Health Center and schedule your complimentary consultation today.