With the summer in full swing, it is likely that you will be planning an overseas holiday at some point. Flying is usually the worst part of any holiday, but for some people, it can be excruciating. If you already suffer from back pain then a long haul flight can make matters a lot worse.
A substantial 88 per cent of people experience increased back or neck pain following a flight, according to a survey by Spine Universe. With limited movement, long periods of time spent sitting down and cramped seating areas, it is hardly surprising that so many people suffer.
However, don’t let flying ruin your holiday. Here are some ways to ease, manage and possibly prevent back pain once you’ve taken to the skies.
Firstly, try to get up and move regularly when flying. Sitting for too long in the same position can cause stiffness and pain. Therefore try requesting an aisle seat, from the airline, so you can stand up easily, without constantly disturbing others – especially if it’s during a night time flight. You can also try to do some simple stretches at the back of the plane if possible. If this isn’t possible you can do some stretching in your seat. Neck rolls, rolling your shoulders back and forth or raising your hands as high above your head as possible are good ideas. The most important thing is you keep your body moving every now and then so your muscles don’t spasm and seize up.
Before a flight, you should try to pack as light as possible. A small backpack that distributes weight evenly can also help once you’re at the destination. Think twice about packing unnecessary items, do you really need your tablet, extra clothes etc. for a day trip?
Finally we suggest investing in anything that might help to decrease the pain. Lumbar pillows, seat cushions and heating pads are all useful. Test out any new products before your trip, you don’t want to waste your time by taking something that doesn’t work properly. It is also wise to bring a few extra days worth of medication, if you’re on any, in case there are any flight delays or other unexpected circumstances.
If you’re worried about your back while flying make sure to contact the airline as they are likely to have some advice and be aware of making sure you’re comfortable when you’re on board. Most importantly – make sure to enjoy your holiday.