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Despite being a frequent flyer, I’ve gotten an increasing amount of back pain after flights, so I turned to the TFG readers to see if they had any advice. Before heading on your next trip, find out how to alleviate back pain during flights!
How to Alleviate Back Pain During Flights
Table Of Contents
It’s important to keep your back healthy while traveling, and one of the best ways to avoid back pain is to strengthen your muscles.
Working with a professional trainer has helped me tremendously over the years. But despite my efforts and the added back strain of being a full-time traveler over the years, my trainer noticed that my back pain seemed to increase after I flew and suggested I use heating pads.
Surprised by her observation, I decided to reach out to TFG readers and ask: Has anyone ever used heating pads during a flight to ease back pain?
I’m pleased to share that TFG readers had plenty of tips, tricks, and insights to share about how they alleviate back pain during flights.
TFG Reader Advice to Alleviate Back Pain During Flights
Sunbeam Renue XL Tension Relief Heat Therapy Wrap
Use a Travel Heating Pad
My trainer recommended using a traditional heating pad at home, but it turns out some TFG readers also use them while traveling.
Just because you’re on a flight doesn’t mean you can’t use a heating pad as many plane seats now have outlets. One reader says, “I’ve used an actual plug-in heating pad—I just check ahead of time to see if my flights has plugs. Worked like a dream!”
This heating pad is great because it’s machine washable so you can keep it clean throughout your travels. Plus, the magnetic front closure provides a custom fit that securely increases contact with the treatment area. The snaps closure offers adjustability and a comfortable fit.
Perhaps the best alternative to traditional plug-in heating pads is single-use heat pads.
Or a Portable Electric Travel Heating Pad
If you’re worried about having to plug in this heating pad, you can use a USB-powered one that can be connected to a power bank instead. It has Graphene heating films, which provides enough heat and Far-infrared radiation to relieve back abdominal stomach cramps and arthritic pain.
It’s also nice and compact, and easy to pack it into your packing cube to inside your personal item until you need it. You can wrap it around your lower back under your clothing without anyone noticing. One reader says, “I love how portable it is. I can take it anywhere.”
Find out the best portable power bank chargers for travel.
Pack a Hot Water Bottle
When in doubt, follow the advice of someone who knows the most about flights: a flight attendant!
One reader says, “Flight attendant here. Do what many of us do. Get an old school hot water bottle. Have the crew fill it from the hot water spigot on the coffee maker. If that’s too hot they can add water from the regular spigot.”
A hot water bag for back pain is great because it’s both easy to pack and lightweight, so it’s perfect for a carry-on bag. We love this one because the wide mouth is easy to fill and the anti-spurt lip prevents water spitting back out like those old rubber ones.
Think traveling carry-on only is impossible? Read this!
Utilize the Power of Massage Balls
In addition to the single-use heating pads, another reader suggested I use massage tools to prevent pain and soothe sore muscles while at home. She also provided me with a couple of stretch videos and a custom program. Her recommendations worked extremely well!
Because they work so well while I’m working in my desk on a daily basis, I thought I’d also test them out on the plane—I couldn’t have been happier with the results.
I started feeling so much discomfort on my flight from London to Los Angeles that I decided to use them in the flight. Not only did they help alleviate back pain mid-flight but I actually had no pain for an entire week after the flight. Amazing! I will be bringing them on every trip from now on.
Plus, I can also use them to massage my feet after a long day of sightseeing! Thank you HealthLuxe Holly for recommending these!
Find out what our readers say as their best tips on stress and anxious-free flight!
ThermaCare Lower Back & Hip Heat Wraps
Try Stick on Heating Pads
Initially, my personal trainer suggested I use a ThermaCare heating pad, which has patented heat cells that penetrate deep to increase circulation and promote healing. These wraps provide eight hours of heat while you wear it, and eight additional hours of relief after you take it off.
Several readers love these, with one saying, “works wonders,” and another adding, “They’re great and I have used them on long flights. Toss them when you are done and you’re even lighter than before. I always carry two just in case I start having a back issue. And I’ve never had a problem going through security with them.”
Here’s what our readers shared as their best tips on how to survive long flights!
Tiger Balm Red Extra Strength Pain Relieving Ointment
Bring Along Tiger Balm Ointment
It’s tried and true, which is why we and our readers love Tiger Balm. Featuring natural herbal ingredients, this ointment helps relieve back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, abdominal pain, and cramps. It’s especially good for flights because you can use it for nasal congestion, which we often get from the dry air and altitude.
Best of all, Tiger Balm comes in a very travel-friendly size container. One reader says, “I always bring a jar of Tiger Balm with me.”
Here are a few airplane essentials to bring along that might make your flight bearable – even enjoyable!
A Professional Massage Treatment
Sometimes the best way to alleviate back pain during a flight is to get a treatment before your flight. This way, you can loosen up any knots in your back and relax your shoulders.
One reader says, “I usually do cupping, acupuncture, and massage after a long flight. I try to do it before, as well.”
Versatility is key to a capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
Zella “Live In” Black Leggings
Stretch Your Back Muscles
Since you’re already dressed in comfortable pants, like our favorite Zella leggings, you may as well stretch! One reader shares, “Doing some stretches mid-flight often helps my back. Knee to chest, mild twisting side to side, stand up and touch toes.”
TIP: Sign up for HealthLuxe Holly’s free video on how to quickly stretch your lower back, hip, and spine!
Even if you don’t experience back pain, stretching is helpful for keeping your blood flowing and to prevent cramps from sitting for so long.
Increase your comfort during a flight by using compression socks and comfortable leggings!
Back Pain Product Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Sunbeam Renue XL Tension Relief Heat Therapy Wrap||This heating pad is great because it’s machine washable so you can keep it clean throughout your travels.||Check Price|
|Portable Electric Heating Pad||It has Graphene heating films, which provides enough heat and Far-infrared radiation to relieve back abdominal stomach cramps and arthritic pain.||Check Price|
|Classic Hot Water Bottle||A hot water bag for back pain is great because it’s both easy to pack and lightweight, so it’s perfect for a carry-on bag.||Check Price|
|Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls||I started feeling so much discomfort on my flight from London to Los Angeles that I decided to use them in the flight. Not only did they help alleviate back pain mid-flight but I actually had no pain for an entire week after the flight. Amazing!||Check Price|
|ThermaCare Lower Back & Hip Heat Wraps||It has patented heat cells that penetrate deep to increase circulation and promote healing. These wraps provide eight hours of heat while you wear it, and eight additional hours of relief after you take it off.||Check Price|
|Tiger Balm Red Extra Strength Pain Relieving Ointment||Featuring natural herbal ingredients, this ointment helps relieve back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, abdominal pain, and cramps.||Check Price|
|Weleda Arnica Massage Oil||The best way to alleviate back pain during a flight is to get a treatment before your flight.||Check Price|
|Zella "Live In" Black Leggings||“Doing some stretches mid-flight often helps my back. Knee to chest, mild twisting side to side, stand up and touch toes.”||Check Price|
How to Pack In-Flight Essentials
Packing cubes will change the way you pack. We designed our own brand of slim packing cubes, with a unique color and numbering system, so it’s easy to remember where you’ve packed everything.
To give you easy access to comfort items for your journey, use it in your personal item to keep your belongings and in flight essentials organized!
You can learn my packing hacks with packing cubes in this video!
What are your tips on how to alleviate back pain during flights? Share in the comments below!
For more airplane essentials, please read:
- What to Wear On A Plane
- 10 Airplane Essentials
- How to Survive Long Flights
- How to Look Good after A Long-Haul Flight
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Leggings are the most dangerous thing you can wear on an airplane if it would crash. Wear things that don’t burn easy in case of fire. This is very important and has been written about frequently.
I carry a inflatable yoga ball, it’s only about 20cm fully inflated, I use it inflated to support my lower back, but it can also be used to massage the area. I love Tiger balm, but carry little sample bottles of DoTerra essential oils, they have a deep heat type one when mixed with coconut oil works well. Also if I have a lay over I will lay on the floor of the airport (on a yoga mat or similar) & have my legs raised up on a chair. (I was a bit self conscious the first time I did it but it made such a difference to my back & the swelling in my legs, I don’t care)
Hi Angela, thank you so much for sharing your great travel tips! 🙂