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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Babayode

Frequent flier back pain, another solution

The “Back on track” article in the April 2012 edition of Business Traveller magazine highlights the danger long haul flying poses to frequent flier back health. It goes on to offer 10 treatments frequent fliers can use to alleviate back pain.The great news about the treatments is that 9 of the 10 are healthy solutions. The tenth, painkillers is not one I would recommend to fliers with an interest in long term healthy flying. Instead of painkillers I would suggest the Egoscue Method as a better means of managing pain. The golfer Jack Nicklaus calls the founder of the Egoscue Method Pete Egoscue an “Anatomical Functionalist” and goes on to say Pete changed his life. The rest of this article is focussed on a contribution to back pain hinted at in the article but not given much discussion – Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue can be a type of occupational hazard to business frequent fliers. Dr Brian Hammond of Backcare touches on the mechanical aspect of stress and back pain however adrenal fatigue leading to adrenal exhaustion can be an important factor.

Adrenal gland energy is responsible for the fight or flight energy we tap into when we face stress. Long haul frequent flying and lifestyles are stressful and can trigger the adrenal response over time. If the response is continually triggered the tendency is to go from adrenal fatigue to adrenal exhaustion. It is possible to mistake adrenal symptoms for back pain as the adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys in the lower back region of the body.  

From my experience adrenal fatigue and exhaustion are symptoms I often see in frequent fliers in the airline flying community. More often than not these fliers aggravate their symptoms through lifestyle habits.

Physiotherapist Sammy Margo’s recommendation to recline your seat to take the pressure off your lower back by reducing the static load is very good advice. I would contend that the Fatigue Risk Management Science company (FRMSc) supports this and goes further with its proprietary model, S.A.F.E (System for Aircrew Fatigue Evaluation) which is a bio-mathematical assessment model it uses for aircrew. In my communications with the M.D. Douglas Mellor he said “The SAFE model does account for passenger seat, pilot seat and bunk rest as you are no doubt well aware that quality of sleep varies in each of these options…….” While Mellor is talking specifically about aircrew the different seat options available to frequent fliers and their ability to recline their seat or not is worth noting.

To date I only know of one airline whose business class seat is designed in accordance with NASA’s understanding of the impact gravitational forces have on the human physiology.

If you have back pain and are always stressed it is worth investigating the back pain adrenal symptoms link. Sitting with your primary health care practitioner and exploring the use of dietary measures or glandular interventions may be an ideal solution.

Christopher Babayode Nucentricals Ltd T:001 77JET 70LAG O:01424 849 079

via Christopher BABAYODE’s blog at Ecademy



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