If you're being treated for back pain, then flying is something you likely avoid. Hours of sitting in a cramped seat can create more muscle tension in your back. The good news is that you can still fly if you stick to an exercise schedule when on the plane. Here are a number of exercises that you can do on the plane to keep your back and neck muscles limber and pain free.
Do the following exercises while seated. Repeat each one several times but stop if you feel any pain or muscle pulling. Use slow, gentle movements and only stretch as much as comfortable. To loosen up the muscles before exercising, bring cool and warm packs with you on the flight. Hold the warm pack against your lower back and neck muscles before starting the movements, then use the cool pack when you are finished.
1. Neck Roll
This relaxes the muscles in your upper spine and neck. Start with your chin pointed down and touching your chest. Slowly roll your neck in a circle clockwise, then reverse the direction after a few repetitions.
2. Upper Back Stretch
This relaxes the tension in the muscles on the side of your upper spine. Put the back of your left hand against your lower back. Turn your head to the right and touch your chin to your right shoulder. Repeat with the other side.
3. Shoulder Roll
This reduces muscle tension in your shoulders, neck and upper spine. Sit forward in your seat with you hands in your lap. Slowly roll both shoulders as far forward as you can then roll them back toward the back of the seat.
4. Lower Back Roll
This increases circulation in your lower back and stretches out those muscles. Place both hands under your thighs. As you lift up on your thighs, slowly roll your neck and upper body forward and down. Hold for a few seconds, then roll backward, arching your back. Hold and repeat.
5. Knee Lifts
This increases circulation in the upper legs and lower back and reduces lower back muscle tension. Clench your thigh muscles and lift one leg toward your chest as high as you can go. Gently lower the leg to the floor and repeat with the other leg. Repeat several times but stop if you feel pain or excess pulling in your lower back.
6. Foot and Ankle Rolls
This stimulates circulation in your feet, ankles and lower legs and reduces muscle tension in your lower back. While seated, lift both feet off of the floor. Point your toes up and down several times. Roll your ankles in a circle clockwise then reverse the direction. For more stretches, talk to a professional like Bronx Physical Therapy LLP.