Pilots and flight attendants endure a lot of stress on the body.
Flight and Occupational Injuries
The occupations of pilots and flight attendants can be stressful and fatiguing. According to the Monthly Labor Review, air transportation workers have a high rate of disabling illnesses and injuries. The leading injuries for flight attendants and pilots are strains and sprains. Another typical injury is fracture (for pilots), while flight attendants can sustain bruises and contusions. “Changes in atmospheric pressure” can also lead to illnesses. Flight attendants risk injury from “boxes, barrels, and containers”. Additionally, “overexertion” injuries are common for flight attendants, especially while lifting, pushing, or pulling objects. Falls may also occur on the job. The body parts most affected by these work injuries are the head, neck, and trunk.1 A major contributing factor to the physical risks of flying is turbulence. Flight attendants are particularly vulnerable as they are generally the last to sit down and fasten a seatbelt when turbulence occurs. Some turbulence is “invisible” or “unanticipated”. Even when the pilot provides a warning, however, flight attendants may often continue serving and checking on the passengers first. This can lead to falls and even unconsciousness for the flight attendant.2
Chiropractic and Massage for Pilots and Flight Attendants
Sinus issues, sciatica, and back and neck problems that flight attendants and pilots experience can be treated with chiropractic care and massage.3,4 In traditional medicine, occupational pain may be masked with medications or treated with surgery; however, chiropractic and massage could offer alternative, safe, and drug-free options for some people with stressful and painful jobs. In an environment where the arms are persistently in a raised position, shoulder and neck problems may occur. Low back pain is another common work complaint and disability. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) can treat back pain. Chiropractors are also experts in treating neck pain.5 Further, massage therapy can help treat stress as well as improve circulation. Massage manipulates the soft tissues and muscles in the body “to improve health”. It is not uncommon for massage therapists to work with chiropractors.6 Cabin crew members also typically have had little sleep. This, too, can contribute to stress, immune system problems, poor attention, and injury. Between the lack of sleep and the ruptured discs, pulled muscles, and broken bones, the Occupational Information Network in the USA said that flight attendants have the “third most demanding job on…health”.7 Seeking regular wellness care, such as massage and chiropractic, can help flight staff recover from and prevent injuries.