According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience occasional or persistent lower back pain. And many of those same folks will be the first to say that getting on an airplane can quickly exacerbate the problem. Yes, those narrow seats with their metal frames aren’t exactly conducive to physical comfort. It’s for this reason that average people as well as the airlines themselves have tried for years to make headway regarding flight comfort, and most of the time it seems they have barely made a dent.
Still, the best thing the typical back pain-experiencing frequent flyer can do to make their journey a more pleasant one is to take matters into their own hands. To this end, there are plenty of tips and tricks approved by medical pros that can help curb back pain while on those long flights. Here are just a few:
They say the best defense is a good offense, and this is true in the realm of flight comfort as well. Those who travel often should contact the airline and try and book flights with as few passengers as possible. And if it’s possible to keep layover times to a minimum, all the better. Also, many airlines are happy to accommodate folks with health problems, such as back issues, and the passenger may even be able to arrange special seating or help with baggage. All he or she has to do is ask.
Consider how to sit
The basic rule of thumb is this: keep the knees at a right angle while seated on an airplane. This takes the stress off the lower back. Those with longer legs can request a seat in an exit row or next to a bulkhead for the added space.
A person can adjust how they sit until their face turns blue, but it will never make an uncomfortable seat comfortable. Passengers with back issues should consider taking along a back roll or seating pad. There are many quality models on the market that have been approved by chiropractors. It may not cure all discomfort, but it should provide the lumbar region a much-needed bit of relief.
Get up and stretch
Long flights can be murder on a back. Therefore, it is crucial that passengers who experience the above-mentioned issues get up and stretch as much as possible as soon as that Fasten Seat Belt light goes off. Even a simple walk to and from the airplane bathroom can offer immediate, noticeable relief.
Apply heat and ice
Because one or the other simply won’t do. Those who experience persistent back pain while flying should alternate every fifteen minutes or so between hot and cold. That means applying a heat wrap for the duration and then switching over to a cool gel pack. Also, many flight attendants would be happy to fill a regular zip-lock bag with ice for any passenger who requires it.
By adhering to the above guidelines, the average flyer should be able to create a regimen that promotes lower back relief. At the very least, bringing a pad and doing a bit of stretching will make the whole experience that much more bearable.
Allen Jenkins is a professional blogger that enjoys discussing automotive topics. He writes for Buttybuddy.com, a motorcycle seat company.