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Physio Tips for a Long Haul Flight

Chris Purcell
April 11, 2022

International borders are now open again which means our patients are back to travelling all over the world for business or pleasure. With this in mind, we thought we would share some tips to help your body feel a little less stiff and sore at the other end of a long flight.

  1. Compression Socks
    Investing in a good pair of compression socks will be money well spent. Not only are they a defence against deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but they also help to reduce swelling in the ankles that occurs at altitude due to the different cabin pressure.
  2. Keep Moving
    Having an aisle seat is ideal but even if you are not in an aisle get up and walk around the plane at least every 2-3 hours. Usually you can find a galley or section of aisle that opens up a little and this is a great place to stand up and do some calf raises, calf stretches and if possible some quad stretches. Even just a good old stretch out of the arms can help reduce stiffness. Again, the movement and the calf raises are a good thing to do to prevent DVT.
  3. Neck Pillows
    There are a lot of option on the market but a wrap-around neck pillow will allow you to get some sleep while maintaining a neutral neck position. This should help reduce neck pain and stiffness both during and after the flight.
  4. Drink Water
    Make sure you are steady with your fluids as the pressurised cabins can result in dehydration. On planes it is easy not to drink, as you typically aren’t doing much and the temperature is often quite cool. Water is always the best form of hydration.
  5. Pack your trigger ball
    Sitting for such an extended period is going to cause stiffness pain. Once you get to your destination you can use your trigger ball to release tight muscles in the neck, shoulders, back and glutes. For less than the size of a tennis ball in your suitcase, you can have a portable massage tool wherever you are in the world.

Enjoy travelling the world again, it's been too long. With a bit of thoughtful planning you can make sure you are at your best at the other end so you can hit the ground running. Safe travels.

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