Travel tips for your back

Esther Gokhale "hiphinges" forwardSummer is often a time for travel, and that can mean logging hours in cramped painful airline seats. I do not suffer from back pain, but some airline seats are killers.

Pain specialist Esther Gokhale says traveling in an airplane no longer has to be painful or uncomfortable.  Esther created the renowned Gokhale Method for pain-free living, and is the author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. She says that while all airplane seats have a curvature that forces the spine into an uncomfortable C-shape, there are steps one can take for a pain-free ride.
These simple tips protect the spine and reduce muscle tension during an airplane flight:
Fill the C: The concave shape of airline seats puts pressure on the spinal discs and is the starting point for muscle tension. Fill the lower part of your seat with pillows, blankets, sweaters, or a Stretchsit cushion to create a flat plane along which you can lengthen your spine. 

Stretchsit cushions are made by Esther Gokhale to help rejuvenate the back by lengthening the long muscles of the back. This provides more space for the spinal discs and nerves.
Hip-Hinge Forward: You can avoid the C-shape altogether by hip-hinging forward. Use your hands to support your head with your elbows resting on the open tray. You can adjust the placement and height of your hands to provide a gentle stretch in the neck.
  • Support Your Head: One of the best ways to rest or sleep on a flight is to lengthen your spine and support your head against the seat in front of you. If you are lucky enough to be in a window seat, you can find even more support in the corner between the seat in front of you and the wall of the airplane. Be sure to use a Stretchsit cushion, blanket, pillow or sweater to cushion your head.