ZocdocAnswers"I suffer from chronic back pain, how can I make an international flight comfortable?"

Question

"I suffer from chronic back pain, how can I make an international flight comfortable?"

I don?t have money for a first-class seat, therefore I?m stuck in coach for nine hours. I already have back problem, how will I survive?

Answer

Back pain is an extremely common condition. There are many situations that can cause back pain to worsen, and certainly prolonged sitting in an airplane can be one of them. I would recommend you discuss this with your primary care physician or back specialist (rheumatologist and orthopedic surgeons can often help). Chronic back pain can be caused by a number of conditions. The major components of the back including the bones (the spine), the muscles, the nerves or the joints (the cushions between the spine bones or vertebrae) can all degenerate and cause back pain. The primary way to prevent the flight from being painful is to treat the chronic back pain. Treatments are varied, but you should explore them with the help of your doctor. Physical therapy is very effective. Pain medications can rarely help, but should be considered. Rarely, surgery can also help. There are also some injections into the spine joints that can work. If you can improve your back health prior to the flight, it certainly would be better during it. As for the flight itself, activity (as possible) and performing your physical therapy exercise can help. Medicines can have many side effects and interactions (especially with alcohol if you are drinking) so be cautious with these on the flight. Talk to your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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