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 Recommendations for Airplane Travel with Back Pain: Brentwood's Guide

Updated: Jun 27

Traveling by airplane can be challenging for individuals suffering from back pain. Long hours of sitting in cramped seats, limited opportunities for movement, and the general stress of travel can exacerbate discomfort. However, with proper planning and some practical strategies, you can make your journey more comfortable and reduce the risk of aggravating your back pain. Here are some recommendations from Brentwood's experts to help you manage back pain during airplane travel.

 Pre-Flight Preparations

 1. Booking the Right Seat

Choosing the right seat can significantly impact your comfort during the flight. Here are some tips for selecting a seat that accommodates your needs:

- Aisle Seat: Opt for an aisle seat to have easier access to stretch and walk around during the flight.

- Bulkhead Seat: These seats offer more legroom, allowing you to stretch your legs more comfortably.

- Upgrade: If possible, consider upgrading to premium economy or business class for more space and better seating.

 2. Packing Essentials

Prepare a travel kit with items that can help alleviate back pain during the flight:

- Lumbar Support Pillow: Bring a lumbar support pillow to maintain the natural curve of your spine.

- Pain Relief Medications: Pack any necessary medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed medications.

- Heat Wraps: Disposable heat wraps can provide soothing warmth to your lower back.

- Compression Socks: These can help improve circulation and reduce the risk of swelling.

 During the Flight

 3. Maintain Proper Seating Posture

How you sit during the flight can affect your back pain significantly. Follow these tips for better posture:

- Sit Back: Ensure your back is fully supported by the seatback. Use your lumbar pillow if needed.

- Feet Position: Keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs to maintain proper alignment.

- Adjustments: Adjust your seat position periodically to avoid stiffness.

 4. In-Flight Exercises and Stretches

Regular movement is crucial during long flights. Here are some exercises and stretches you can do:

- Ankle Circles: Rotate your ankles to improve circulation.

- Seated Marches: Lift your knees alternately to engage your leg muscles.

- Neck Stretches: Gently tilt your head side to side and forward to stretch your neck muscles.

- Back Stretches: When you stand up, do some gentle back stretches by arching your back slightly.

 5. Use of Lumbar Support

Lumbar support helps maintain the natural curve of your lower spine, reducing strain and discomfort. If you don’t have a lumbar pillow, you can roll up a jacket or blanket and place it at the small of your back.

 Post-Flight Tips

 6. Gentle Stretching Upon Arrival

After disembarking, take a few minutes to do some gentle stretches:

- Hamstring Stretch: Place one foot on a low surface and gently lean forward to stretch the back of your leg.

- Quadriceps Stretch: Hold onto a stable surface, bend one knee, and bring your heel towards your buttock to stretch the front of your thigh.

- Lower Back Stretch: Lie on your back, bring your knees to your chest, and gently rock side to side.

 7. Managing Pain After the Flight

If you experience pain after the flight, here are some strategies to manage it:

- Apply Heat or Cold: Use a heating pad or ice pack to soothe sore muscles.

- Stay Active: Engage in light activities like walking to prevent stiffness.

- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to help your body recover from the journey.

 Additional Tips

 8. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can exacerbate back pain. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight to stay hydrated and help maintain spinal health.

 9. Medication and Pain Management

If you regularly take medication for your back pain, ensure you have enough for the duration of your travel. Consider consulting with your healthcare provider about any additional measures you might need to take during your flight.

 10. Relaxation Techniques

Practice relaxation techniques to manage stress and tension, which can worsen back pain:

- Deep Breathing: Take slow, deep breaths to relax your muscles and calm your mind.

- Meditation: Use a meditation app or listen to calming music to help reduce anxiety and tension.


Traveling with back pain requires some extra preparation and care, but with the right strategies, you can make your journey more comfortable. By selecting the right seat, maintaining proper posture, staying active, and managing pain effectively, you can reduce discomfort and enjoy your trip. Always consult with your healthcare provider before travel to ensure you have a personalized plan that suits your specific needs.

For more information on managing back pain and other chiropractic tips, visit [Brentwood Chiropractic].


Dr. Mike Hadbavny

Brentwood Sports Chiropractor FRCCSS(C), ICSC

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care in Brentwood Bay can be effective for your particular condition or health goals, contact Dr. Mike Hadbavny at 250-232-0200 today to make an appointment and discover the many benefits of seeing a  chiropractor in Brentwood BC. Contact us today.

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