Lumbar support on jets

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Garp74, Jun 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm flying 6 transcon segments every month (and 10 in the next 5 weeks) and I'm having real trouble in both first and coach with lower back support. I've come to Milepoint for your help, please.

    Three or four hours into each segment, my lower back is locking up, making getting up impossible for a few minutes. I got off a transcon redeye this morning, it's now 8pm, and my lower back is still sore. So I'm looking for something I can bring with me on flights that will provide support for my lower back and hopefully prevent these episodes.

    Any products or ideas would be very welcome!

    With regards,
    Mapsmith, canucklehead and SuperKirby like this.
  2. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    @garp74, welcome to MP!
    With long flights and a lot of them, theres almost certainly nothing you can buy (products wise) to prevent lower back lockup. =(
    You can definitely try a lumbar support (google the pic). This may help a little bit, probably 5-15% but it really depends on the person really so no guarantee at all. The biggest problem with "lower back lockup" is because of the sedentary state for 3-4 hours.
    If possible, get up as much as possible and use the lavatory. Drink plenty of water, not only does this help keep those back muscles hydrated, but it forces you to get up and use the restroom =). The key is to keep that lower back moving. However, this is hard to keep up as there is not a lot of space to keep "moving" all the time. Therefore...

    Finally, the best bet to PREVENT this from happening is to find a good core strengthening AND stretching program you can do daily. Especially performing the stretches pre and post flight. It won't be too hard, simple stuff and will probably take 30 minutes a day and the stretches pre and post flight wont take long at all. It's your body, its worth it! Find someone around you who knows this kinda of stuff...
    miles and smiles and Mapsmith like this.
  3. Mapsmith
    Original Member

    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Yep Stretching does help. When I fly (even under 2 hours) you will usually find me on the floor doing a simple stretch of the Sacroiliac. That stretches out the muscles and tendons of the hips and aligns the pelvis and lower back. I may get some looks when I lie down on the carpet at the gate, but it does help. It can also be slightly modified to do the stretch in a seat. So if the feeling of tightness in the lower back starts, stretch.
    miles and smiles and SuperKirby like this.
  4. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint Garp74, SuperKirby and Mapsmith have given good advice regarding about avoiding back pain.

    Here are some tips I usually do to ensure my back does not have issues (and I have had back pains since I was a kid):
    1) avoid locking a position while flying - this is when you hold yourself in a position (either sitting up straight or shoulders slouched in, slightly forward) as this strains your back muscles and over time, the muscle fibers will start to strain and you will then have issues).
    2) avoid sitting the entire time/flight - walk to the lav or galley, maintaining one position is not good for the back. Some FAs may not like it, but I have never had an FA tell me to move - smile, say you need to stretch as your back is acting up and they are usually great!!!
    3) do the following exercises (in seat or in galley area) - side to side stretch (slowly), touch your toes, bend your leg (brace yourself if standing), lift your arms up and do side stretches, run your fist alongside your back muscles to massage them (this helps relieve the knots that build up, massage your shoulder muscles (surprisingly this helps my lower back as one strain leads to another). You can also do leg stretches and lifts at your seat, this will help with seat and hip pains.

    There are many exercises that you can do beforehand, on the plane and at your hotel that will alleviate the stress on your back.

    I don't carry a back pillow, but that may be something you wish to put behind you at the curvature of your back to help, but I think continual movement and stretching will help.

    Safe travels!
  5. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    the above are good suggestions, but I find a very small pillow (or a rolled up small scarf) or one the the lumbar support pillows made of tempur pedic like stuff (sold at places like Brookstone) helpful - esp. if I move it around and get up and stretch intermittently. The lumbar support ones are too think for me personally (but I sometimes use them in the car for long trips)
    SuperKirby likes this.

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