Fly Long Distance with Lower Back Pain

We all have to fly now and again, but those of us with lower back pain have a particularly rough time with long-distance flights. Even if you splurge and fly in business class or better, the fact is that airplane seats aren’t meant for overall comfort. Nothing compares to the couch or comfy chair you have at home.

Still, just because flying can be uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to be. Let’s review the best tips for flying long-distance with lower back pain.

Pain Medication

While you don’t want to go overboard with this stuff, it’s not a bad idea to take ibuprofen or similar low-level pain medication before you board your flight. Specifically, take about one hour before you board your flight, as this will get the medicine time to fully enter your system.

If your flight is longer than four hours or so, you can then take more medication depending on the exact specifications on the bottle.

Just be sure to keep your medicine in a clear plastic bag and have them on your person instead of in your luggage.

This will make it easier to take without having to stand and strain your spine.

We recommend this CBD oil for your long distance flight.

Use Back Support

Lower back pain is particularly bad if you don’t have anything ergonomic to support the lower regions of your spine.

We recommend bringing some kind of manual support for your lower back, which you can place behind your waist.

These are things like back rolls or even a bunched-up pillow. Whatever you can use to support your lower back and alleviate the stress that a regular airplane seat causes is fine.

Tube-shaped supports, like special pillows or back braces, are particularly good choices since their perfectly shaped to mold to your lower back.

Even better, you can usually get them relatively inexpensively at many pharmacies or general good stores.

Stay Moving

Flying Long Distance with Lower Back Pain is a killer in more ways than one. If you’ve ever experienced a long-distance flight, chances are you’re familiar with the twitching is your legs develop after a few hours sitting in one position. This can even exacerbate your lower back pain, depending on the exact cause.

We’d recommend getting up and moving around during the flight, so long as your back pain isn’t debilitating. This doesn’t have to be for a super long time; just had to the back or front of the plane and go to the bathroom every couple of hours or so. This gives your legs a chance to stretch and improves blood circulation throughout your body.

Don’t feel bad if you’re in the middle or window seat, either. It’s your right to get up and stretch your legs and by making people closer to the aisle stand up you’ll even be doing them a favor.


Pick Your Seat Wisely

Speaking of seat position, it’s a good idea to always go for the aisle seat if you ever have a choice.

The aisle seat allows you easier access to the main corridor and the bathrooms, and it’ll let you get up and walk around more freely.

You’ll even be able to stretch her legs out a little more once the flight is deep into its journey.

People don’t usually walk around throughout the entire flight so you might be able to take advantage of a vacated aisle and let your legs expand. This can help you lower back pain by stretching out your spine.

Check out this awesome site to see what seats other people recommend.

Use Heat and Ice Packs

Some of us have back pain that tends to flare up during long-distance flights. If you’ve been dealing with lower back pain for a while, you’ve probably already been prescribed cold and heat therapy.

We would recommend alternating between cold or icy patches and heat patches every so often. The cold numbs your muscles and soothes your back, while the heat patches soothe your tight muscles and promote relaxation.

If you don’t have dedicated icy or hot patches, you can always make your own with the help of the flight attendant.

For instance, a small gel pack can be stored in the fridge at the beginning of the flight, or you can fill a plastic bag with ice. For heat therapy, bring a hot water bottle and have a flight attendant warm it up.

Schedule Your Flights Wisely

It’s also a good idea to schedule your long distance flights during periods without lots of other traffic. This means taking flights in the middle of the week or day.

You want less crowded flights because it means you’ll have a less likely chance of having fellow passengers crowding you, and you’ll be able to move up in about more freely.

As an added benefit, flights that aren’t so crowded even board and disembark faster since fewer people are rummaging around with their luggage.

Pack Light

We’d recommend taking only a light carry-on bag and filling it with only the bare essentials.

With lower back pain, picking up heavier objects can be an exercise in frustration and serious discomfort. Take it easy on yourself and only pack a lightweight bag.

Manage Stress

Many of us suffer lower back pain because we stress ourselves out because of our jobs or family lives. But long airplane flights provide plenty of opportunities to relax and destress. We recommend bringing your favorite books or movies, or even calming music, and using those media sources to get yourself to relax both physically and mentally.

A relaxed body will lead to fewer tight muscles at the base of your spine.

While this might not entirely get rid of your lower back pain, it surely can’t make it worse.


Overall, when flying long distance with lower back pain you will likely rely on several of the above methods if not all of them.

Experiment with your own comfort measures and do what works best for you.

Remember, you can make it through the flight, even if the seats are designed with the opposite of comfort in mind.