Pilots And Lower Back Pain

Marine AH-1 SuperCobra type of aircraft flown ...

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Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments that Americans suffer from today. There are a number of factors that contribute to back pain. Bad posture, obesity, poor nutrition, etc.

The problem of lower back pain is also an issue in the aviation industry, more specifically with military and commercial pilots.  Pilots are just as susceptible to lower back pain then the general population due of the nature of their work. Pilots must be confined to a cockpit for hours on end without having the chance to get up and stretch their muscles. Military pilots, especially fighter pilots, engage in high speed aerobatic maneuvers that can put a tremendous amount of stress on the body.

We must also not forget helicopter pilots whose backs are abused due to the vibrations caused by a helicopter’s rotor blades. A 2000 study conducted by the  Flight Safety Foundation reported that a good portion of helicopter and military pilots suffered from lower back pain.

Of 131 Australian military helicopter pilots responding to a 69-question survey, 16 percent reported back pain associated with flying, 28 percent reported ‘back discomfort’ and 39 percent reported ‘occasional’ back pain. Eighty-five percent of those who reported back pain while flying said that their ailment was related to flying and almost one-third said that flying was detrimental to their health.”

The study also indicated that 13 percent of all U.S. Naval Aviators suffered from lower back pain.  It’s difficult to determine if flying is the sole reason why many pilots suffer from lower back problems. The Flight Safety Foundation study admits this.  However the intense conditions of flying certainly don’t help.

One of the best ways to reduce lower back pain is to equip pilot seats with a proper cushioning system such as the MitiGator. The MitiGator was originally designed for the Cobra attack helicopter and is currently equipped in a number of military and civilian vehicles.

The MitiGator is designed to absorb impacts and vibrations from outside forces. In the case of flying, the MitiGator can protect pilots from the vibrations caused by turbulence, advanced maneuvers, high speeds, and frequent touchdown and landings.  Of course there are other things pilots can do to treat lower back pain such as proper exercise, stretching, good posture, and healthy eating habits.  A combination of protective seating and a healthy lifestyle can help pilots reduce the chance of injury while flying in either military or commercial aircraft.

The MitiGator™ Technology is an engineered cushioning system designed to protect people and equipment from these assaults and to allow them to continue to perform their jobs or enjoy their leisure time. The MitiGator™ uses patented air control technology working with over 4,000 surfaces per square foot to dissipate energy before it is transmitted to the body and thus help alleviate the problems. For more information on the MitiGator Cushioning System email MediaRelations@MitiGatorinc.com

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