Read our tips below to reduce back pain from air travel to have a more comfortable journey.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments among Americans. There are a number of reasons for chronic back pain such as a nagging injury, poor posture or sleeping on an old mattress.
If you travel on a regular basis, your back pain may flare up while you’re cramped in those tiny airplane seats for hours on end. Even if you only travel occasionally, you might end up with back spasms or pain after a flight.
Use these tips to reduce back pain from air travel.
Pack Stretch Straps or Resistance Bands
Even if you’re only traveling with a carry-on bag, slip in a pair of stretch straps or resistance bands. These are lightweight and compact. When you get to your hotel room, use them to stretch your upper body, hips, and legs. They are ideal supplements for strength training and aerobic exercises while traveling, too.
Wear a Posture Corrector
Many people slouch, and they don’t realize it. A physical therapist or doctor can tell you if your posture is poor. Slouching while traveling can lead to an aching back. You can get a slim-profile posture corrector to wear under your clothes. They’re discreet and will help you keep your spine in proper alignment.
Bring a Neck Pillow
Airplane seats aren’t known for their comfort. If you choose to read, use your smartphone or even take a nap, chances are good that your neck will get out of alignment with the rest of your spine. Bring along a heavy-duty neck pillow to help with spinal alignment. Some companies make inflatable options that fold flat in your carry-on bag.
Purchase a Portable TENS Device
A portable trans-epidermal nerve stimulator, or TENS machine, could be helpful for relieving pain in specific pressure points when you travel. These TSA-approved devices should be packed in your checked luggage, or you can wear them on your person. They reduce inflammation and stimulate blood flow. They typically operate with a rechargeable battery. Purchase one at a pharmacy, medical supply store or drugstore.
Try a Topical Pain Relief Medication
Many manufacturers make topical ointments that are designed to relax tight or sore muscles. You apply them to the sore area of your back, shoulders or neck for pain relief. Most of these contain capsaicin, which provides a warming sensation. Some of the ointments have a strong odor, and others are odorless. Be sure to get a small, TSA-approved tube to bring on your flight.
Add Lumbar Support
If your lower back aches from air travel, try adding some lumbar support when you sit. On the airplane, a water bottle can slide between your lower back and the seat. You could also roll up the airplane pillow and place it between the curve of your back and the seat. There are wedge and roll pillows available in travel sizes, too.
Use a Massage Ball
A small massage ball can work on the pressure points of your back. They help with relaxing tight and sore muscles. You simply place it between your back and the seat. You’ll need to wiggle around a bit in order to move it. If you’re self-conscious, use it in your hotel room while seated in an upholstered chair.
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