A pain specialist offers travel tips for flying and/or sitting for long period of time without any back pain.
Most people cringe at the thought of flying: long lines, invasive security checks, delays and more make many dread airports. Then, when you finally board the plane, you are scrunched into an uncomfortable seat, where you have to sit for many hours. Here are some tips on how to protect the spine and reduce muscle tension during an airplane flight.
Fill the C
The concave shape of airline seats puts pressure on the spinal discs and is the starting point for muscle tension. Fill the lower part of your seat with pillows, blankets, sweaters, or ideally a Stretchsit cushion to create a flat plane along which you can lengthen your spine.
You can avoid the C-shape altogether by hiphinging forward. Use your hands to support your head with your elbows resting on the open tray. You can adjust the placement and height of your hands to provide a gentle stretch in the neck.
Support Your Head
One of the best ways to rest or sleep on a flight is to lengthen your spine and support your head against the seat in front of you. If you are lucky enough to be in a window seat, you can find even more support in the corner between the seat in front of you and the wall of the airplane. This technique works especially well for taller individuals, who can adjust the placement of their heads to allow the spine to stretch and relax even in cramped spaces. Be sure to use a Stretchsit cushion, blanket, pillow or sweater to cushion your head.
Esther Gokhale, pain specialist and author of “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back,” is creator of the popular Gokhale Method, which takes an anthropological approach to pain free living by getting to the root cause of the pain, which involves how we sit, sleep and walk.
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