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Advanced Pain Management Blog

Pain Management Resource Blog

9 Quick Tips For Flying With Chronic Pain

Posted on Wed, Mar 18, 2015

airplane flying sunriseAre you planning a trip? Whether you are flying to Arizona to enjoy the desert sun or Utah for the skiing, here are 9 must know tips for flying with pain. 

Before your flight

1. Invest in luggage with wheels. Using luggage with wheels allows you to be mobile. Rolling your luggage next to you will prevent excess strain on your shoulders and back.

2. Pack Light. The more you pack, the heavier your luggage will be so we recommend packing as light as possible. 

At the Airport

3. Plan ahead for extra assistance is available. Often, security checkpoint areas and gates are spread out at airports. If walking long distances is difficult for you; we recommend you request internal transportation from the airport. Call ahead or ask about this service when you check in.

Whether or not you need transportation assistance, we recommend wearing comfortable and supportive shoes.

During your flight

4. Ask for Help. The twisting and turning movement of putting your bag in the overhead bin can aggravate your back, neck and shoulders. We recommend that once you are on the plane, request assistance from a flight attendant to place your bag in the overhead bin.

5. If possible, try to sit in an aisle seat so you can easily move around. Your muscles and tissues can become sensitive and sore when you sit for prolonged periods of time. With that in mind, we recommend you get up as often as you can to keep blood flow and oxygen moving through the tissues of your spine, hips, and legs.

6. Stretch on the flight. As you move around the cabin, do some light stretches, such as a calf stretch. Stretching will decrease your chances of becoming stiff during your flight. We also recommend you stretch after the flight.

7. Dress in layers. Try to dress in layers so you are prepared for the changing conditions on the airplane. Temperature can affect joints and muscles and keep that in mind as you prepare for your flight. You can also roll up a sweatshirt and use it as neck or lumbar support.

8. Stay hydrated! When you become dehydrated, your tissues become sensitive. Staying hydrated is an important part to having a pleasant flight. We recommend you bring a bottle of water with you, wherever you go!

9. Practicing relaxation techniques during your flight. Flying can be stressful even when you don’t suffer from acute or chronic pain. There are a number of different relaxation techniques that can be done without anyone even knowing. Here is link to a quick and easy Guided Imagery Technique you can use, next time you travel.

What tips do you think will be most helpful to you as you travel? Did we miss any important tips? Let us know in the comments!


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Thompson, D. (n.d.). Holiday Planning: Manage Pain on Flights.

Tags: Acute and Chronic Pain, Back Pain, Blog, Healthy Living, Neck Pain, Chronic Pain