7 Tips to Prevent Back Pain Caused by Airline Travel

Do you travel often for work? Will you be flying to see friends and family over the holidays? While we all love the speed of air travel, trips can be down right painful. Uncomfortable seats, confined spaces, and heavy bags. Here are some simple tips to help you manage the stresses of air travel:

1) Get some exercise the day of the trip before going to the airport. This will help you relax while on the plane and decrease muscular tension. If you are unable to exercise before getting to the airport, take a brisk walk focusing on long strides and big arm swings in the airport.

2) Use a back pack. Forget the brief case or fancy hand bag, check your luggage and use a back pack to carry your personal items. This will allow you to keep your hands free, support the weight with your body and decrease the stress to your back and neck.

3) Secure an isle seat. This will allow you to get up easily while in flight to stretch and move around. You should try to get up every 45 minutes or so.

4) Bring a lumbar roll. These rolls are cheap and easy to carry along with you. A lumbar roll supports your lower back to decrease the strain of prolonged sitting. If you don’t have a roll, grab a pillow, blanket on board or even use a sweater. Anything will work to take the tension off.

5) Use the following isometric exercises to reduce muscular tension:

Head press. Press head back into head rest tensing the muscles in the back of your neck.  Hold for 10 seconds repeat 3-4 times.

Overhead reach if able reach both arms overhead and back as far as they will go. Hold for 10 seconds.  If unable to do both do one arm at a time.

Sitting up tall, arch your low back while squeezing your shoulders back. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times.

6) When you arrive, take a brisk walk to loosen things up.

7) Finally, prepare to pull your bags off of the conveyor belt. Give yourself room and have a plan to grab your bags as they come around. Free yourself of your other luggage so you can safely retrieve your bag.

These are some of the strategies that I use to help me with long flights.  Let us know what you do to avoid neck and back pain on airplanes.

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