Tag Archives: travel

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Pain Plane: Your Guide to Back-Friendlier Air Travel

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It all seems so simple: just hop on a plane, doze off, and wake up across the country–or even the world! But the truth is, air travel can take a toll on your back. Try these tips to reach your final destination a little fresher, and with less back pain!

Be Smart With Your Luggage
With all the various checked bag fees–not to mention, anxiety over checked bags–the pressure is on to stuff that carry-on to the brim.
Two things to keep in mind: first, studies suggest that cases of lost baggage have dropped in the past years, perhaps by as much as 60%. So if you’re still tormented by that memory of a lost suitcase decades ago, perhaps it’s time to let go!
Second: if you do have a big carry-on for whatever reason, lift it in stages to the overhead bin. Take a moment to rest the bag on the seat below the bin before doing the final lift. And remember: always lift from the knees to avoid placing undue stress on your spine!

Back Up Back Support
Support your lower back in an airport seat using a lumbar pillow. If you don’t have one, roll up a sweatshirt or blanket to place in the lower curve of your back. Neck support is also important, and can be aided by one of those ubiquitous U-shaped pillows or by rolling a blanket or sweater into a similar shape.

Don’t Forget the Feet
Supporting your feet is vital to supporting your back. If your feet aren’t firmly on the floor during flight, find something to use as support. Perhaps that extra “stow under the seat in front of you” item? Alternately, rolled up clothing, books, or other items can be used to help.

Get Up
We know– it can feel obnoxious to be the one getting in and out of their seat all the time. But the spine was designed to move–and sitting still for hours isn’t doing it any favors. Try to get up and walk down the aisle when possible and get a little stretching in on your way to the restroom. Aim for a time when there’s a bit of a wait to insure you’ll be able to have a minute to really move your muscles.


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