The holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re like one third of the nation, you’re likely to be traveling to spend time with family and friends. Though the majority of those trips will be by car, millions of people also take to the air, squeezing themselves into uncomfortable airline seats, all for the sake of celebrating with the people they love.
If you are one of those people who is traveling and you experience chronic neck or back pain, you’re probably already dreading that part of your journey. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help yourself avoid exacerbating already-existing spinal problems.
Flying hurts your back and neck for a number of reasons. In addition to forcing you to sit for an extended period of time in an awkward position and in an uncomfortable seat, the mere act of flying can be stressful, and that adds to whatever discomfort you are likely to be feeling. Unless you’re flying in business class or first class, most airline seats are designed with the goal of maximizing the number of people that can fit into a plane rather than of adding to passenger comfort. The seats provide little support and almost no leg room, and it can be difficult to get up and stretch, so even people with healthy spines report aches and pains after a long flight.
To relieve pain in your back and neck while traveling, the key is to get up and move as much as you can. Though you are obviously trapped in your seat during takeoff and landing, as well as during any rough patches of turbulence, you should take steps before, during and after your flight to make sure that your muscles are as loose and stress-free as possible.
When choosing your flight, try to choose travel times that are less popular. The more room there is in the plane, the more easily you will be able to get up from your seat and move around without disturbing other passengers, and the more attentive the flight crew is likely to be. Whether you’re on over-the-counter medications or prescription painkillers, take them as close to your flight as possible so that you get their maximum impact. Once you’re on board, don’t be shy about asking another passenger to help you get your bag into the overhead bin – most people are happy to assist – almost everybody understands back pain – and be smart and keep your bag a manageable weight.
The most important thing you can do while in flight is to move around as much as you can. Just walking to and from the lavatory is going to do you a world of good, and don’t be shy about doing a few stretches or bends to loosen up tight muscles.
If you are experiencing pain, your best bet is to address it with our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey. Call us today to set up an appointment and learn how we can help.