Avoid Back and Neck Pain on Your Next Airplane Trip

Whether flying for business or pleasure, traveling by plane can put people at risk for back and neck pain. Following a few simple guidelines from leading spine and back surgeons in Los Angeles can help passengers prevent injury from the time they leave home until they return from their trip.


When packing, it is important to keep in mind the weight of the bags that will need to be carried. Even though most luggage manufacturers employ ergonomics in their designs such as pullout handles and wheels, there is always a point when the bag will need to be lifted, whether onto the airline’s scale or in and out of the car’s trunk. Scaling down the packing list can help travelers thwart back and neck pain.

During the Flight

Most airplane seats are not engineered for comfort and remaining seated for extended periods of time can quickly result in discomfort. Remembering to gently roll and stretch the neck every few minutes is a good strategy for avoiding stiffness. After the seat belt sign is turned off, travelers, especially on longer flights, should stand and take a short walk down the aisle every few hours in order to relieve pressure from the lower spine.

Being Prepared

People who are planning on flying can help reduce their occurrence of lumbar discomfort by conditioning their lower backs before the trip. Engaging in exercises that target the muscles of the lower back is an ideal way to prepare for air travel. In addition, passengers can bring along small comfort items designed to help them avoid or treat discomfort including:

  • Neck pillows
  • Commercially prepared heat wraps
  • Back support pillows
  • Portable ice packs


People who are prone to back and neck pain or who are chronic sufferers can help avoid extreme discomfort by planning their medication doses around the flight. Pain medications, muscle relaxants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be taken about 45 minutes before departure in order to better experience their benefits. Some patients may be able to obtain oral steroid dose packs prescriptions to be taken ahead of time in order to keep their inflammation in check before their trip.

If chronic back pain is making everyday activities challenging, reach out to The Spine Institute Center in Beverly Hills. Our dedicated team of board-certified spine surgeons in Los Angeles can evaluate your lifestyle habits, diagnose the source of your pain, and identify treatment options. Call (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.