It can be a heartbreaking scenario – you have been looking forward to a trip for ages, daydreaming about lying in the sun or walking around on the cobblestone streets of your destination, only to find that, once you have touched down, your back and neck are killing you! How can you enjoy your trip now?

Neck and back pain can put a serious wrench in your travel plans, which is why it is useful to be proactive about your flight. Flights are long, and the seats aren’t exactly optimized for ergonomics. Add to that the fact that they keep the cabin dry as a bone, and you are looking at the perfect recipe for back pain. Luckily, there are a few actions you can take to prevent the pain.

See A Chiropractor Beforehand

If you have never been for a spinal adjustment and you suffer from back or neck pain, absolutely give it a try. But that’s not the only reason to see a chiropractor before your flight. Find a chiropractor that takes a holistic approach to your health – here in Toronto there is Transform Chiropractic that uses this core philosophy – and ask them for some tips. A great chiropractor is a treasure trove of good advice concerning your spinal health, and can offer you helpful stretches, posture recommendations as well as advice on which travel pillows (if any) you might need for your upcoming flight.

Stretch Before Your Flight

Stretching before a flight can do wonders. It is best to consult with your chiropractor about which stretches work best for your particular issues, but as a guide to get started, read through this article. It walks you through basic stretches you can do on the flight, like neck rolls, leg extensions and child’s pose (OK, you might want to wait until after the flight for that last one). A few stretches before the flight could save you a lot of pain on the other end.

Move Around The Cabin

There is a helpful maxim in the chiropractic community: motion is lotion. Put simply, the more you move, the more you help your spine stave off stiffness and pain. Put this into practice on your next flight by setting a series of timers for yourself (your phone’s clock app will work just fine for this) and walking around the cabin every time your alarm goes off. You would be surprised how much a little motion can help you avoid pain.

Drink Plenty Of Water

There is a very real link between water and your spine. Dehydration can cause the discs between your vertebrae to shrink slightly, which renders them less capable of absorbing shock and therefore causes you back pain. Since flights can be a dry environment, with lots of salty food and (for some) liquor, it is important to counterbalance that with plenty of water. Who would have thought that a humble glass of water could save you so much trouble!

Before your next long flight, try out these four tips. They will help keep you loose, limber and capable of enjoying your time away!