If you’ve been struggling with back pain to any extent, then chances are that you’re familiar with the perils of getting on a plane. Air travel is often associated with soreness and discomfort, especially if you’re flying economy.  Dealing with back pain with air travel is our new reality as we get back to traveling.

Back pain while traveling by air

Wait, why does my back hurt when I’m on a long flight in the first place?

Unless you’ve been flying first or business class all your life, chances are that you’ve gotten acquainted with the fixed seating position that comes with flying economy—one that can’t be adjusted without getting the ire of the passenger behind you. Airplane seats, to put them simply, are in no way designed to provide any form of comfort or support for your lower back

Given the uncomfortable structuring of the standard airplane seat, passengers have no choice but to sit for an excruciating number of hours on a long-haul flight with no choice but to endure the pain. Even those who don’t typically suffer from back pain find the seating position to be uncomfortable and painful—especially considering the lack of lumbar support and occasional turbulence. 

Woman with back pain while on an airlineUnfortunately, waiting for airplane seats to adjust to your back pain and make the experience of a long flight much more comfortable is like waiting for humans to grow wings— it will never happen.

Taking the undesirable position set by airplane seats and the ever-consistent complacency of airline companies to improve them, it’s safe to say that you’ll need to take matters into your own hands.

Thankfully, overcoming your fear of long flights and making the entire experience bearable (or even pleasurable) can be done with the help of a few simple, yet effective tips that you can apply on your next trip: 

Let the airline know about your back pain 

One of the simplest, yet most effective way to alleviate your back pain on a long flight is to let the airline company themselves know about your condition help you out—after all, they’re (typically) after your satisfaction! 

When you book your ticket, book your seat in advance and try to choose one near the emergency exit or a space where you can freely recline your chair to mitigate the stress on your back.

One of the best travel hacks to picking the right seat for comfort and easing back pain is Seat Guru.

Additionally, giving the airline a call before your flight can also open up the opportunity to get help with your baggage, movement around the airport, and any other adjustment that can make it easier to deal with your pain

Take a few prescribed pain medications to manage the discomfort

Man traveling without back painIf you have made all the necessary adjustments with the help of your airline, then another way to help ease the pain is to take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication before your trip. By simply asking your primary car physician for a prescription or recommendation for an OTC pain medicine, you’ll be able to take on any bout of back pain on your flight with ease.

You might want to ask your chiropractor for recommendations on natural products that might help to relieve back pain while traveling. These may include turmeric milk or tart cherry juice.

Generally speaking, the best time to take OTC pain medication and significantly reduce your pain during a flight is around an hour before boarding—so make sure to stock up and take them on time! 

Schedule a session with your chiropractor

Another effective way to deal with back pain before, during, and after a long flight to any destination is to enlist the help of a professional in preparing your body for the flight itself.

Simply scheduling a session with your Charlotte chiropractor a few days before the long flight can help your body and back loosen up and adjust well enough to take on the challenges that lie in sitting on a chair for long periods of time.

Aside from preparing your back and kneading and cracking away at various problem points, a chiropractor can also help your back pain issue by writing a letter to the cabin crew and airline personnel to make special arrangements for you! 


Dealing with back pain on a long haul flight can definitely prove to be one of the most undesirable situations in the world—but taking the time to prepare before your trip can make a world of difference in your pain relief!

Are you looking for an expert chiropractor to improve your health and comfort? Schedule an appointment at 704-541-7111 with Charlotte, NC’s foremost expert chiropractors over at Tebby Clinic today to see how we can help!

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