For people with back pain, traveling can be a scary endeavor. Traveling tends to put people in positions that are uncomfortable for their back, which can cause severe pain and long-lasting effects for those who already deal with constant back pain. If not approached correctly, flying can be the worst means of transportation for your back. Even a short flight can result in serious pain for those with chronic back issues. Thankfully, there are lots of things that you can do to take care of your back while flying, to ease the stress on your hurt back, and to lessen the pain. Here are some of the top tips for taking care your back while traveling, so that you can have a happy and comfortable flight.
Tilt Your Seat Back
You have to wait until your plane has reached a cruising altitude before you’re allowed to adjust your seat, but as soon as you’re allowed to, recline. Having your seat tilted back takes pressure off of your lower back, and allows you to relax your muscles, according to USA Today.
A lot of people try to cram everything they have into carry-on, either to save the time of picking up your checked luggage, or the potential fees. If you have chronic back pain, it’s best to avoid this approach. The heavier your carry-on, the more lifting and carrying of heavy items you have to do. This added exercise can result in your back flaring up before even sitting in your seat. So identify the things you need for your flight, and check everything else.
Those neck pillows that you see other passengers using aren’t just for luxury and sleep; they are tremendously helpful for those with back pain. Some airlines offer complementary neck pillows, but if yours doesn’t, buy one ahead of time; it can make all the difference. And, if your flight offers other small pillows or blankets, use them behind your shoulders and lower back. All of this serves to take the pressure off of your back, and reduce stress and pain.
Keep Your Knees Elevated
If you can comfortably keep your knees elevated, do so. This is easier said than done while flying, but if you have a small carry-on suitcase, or a few books, put them under your feet. Elevating your knees shifts the weight sent to your lower back in a very beneficial way.
Take Medication in Advance
If you have anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers prescribed for your back pain, make sure to take them before you board your flight. Too many people wait until they feel their back hurt to take their medication. If you preempt the problem, you can keep your back from flaring up in the first place.
Get Up and Move Around
Even if you apply all of the aforementioned steps, sitting down is still not great for your back. Even if you’re feeling great, make sure to get up every hour or two and walk around. Even a quick stroll up and down the isle of the plane will do wonders to keep your back relaxed and relatively pain free.
Flying doesn’t have to be a nightmare for people with back pain. Employ these tips, and you’ll be able to manage traveling without much pain at all.