3 Tips For Back & Spine Care While Traveling By Plane.

Nobody wants to spend time and lots of money on a vacation they can’t enjoy! There are tried and true methods and tools that you can utilize while traveling by airplane that will give you the best chance of a pain free trip.

Don't stress out over traveling!

Don’t stress out while traveling!

Rule 1: Don’t sit still for too long
Movement is life. Get up and move around. Sitting and bumping around compresses the spine and the immobility allows for “locking in” of tension. Moving around, even stretching before boarding will warm you up for sitting for hours on end and may prevent typical travel pain. Stretch the neck and low back with simple stretches on the plane if it’s a long flight. For flights over 3 hours, this is especially important.

Rule 2: Keep your stress level down.
There’s no point in allowing yourself to become mentally stressed when there is virtually nothing you can do about flights being on time. There’s nothing you can do about the food they serve. There’s not much to be done about your neighbors on the plane. I once had a lady I did not know, who took up 2 seats, rest her head on my shoulder for an hour on a transatlantic flight. Eventually I woke her up and the problem was solved. Mental stress leads to tension in the neck, shoulders and low back. Stress increases cortisol levels which leads to a change in your body chemistry including increased inflammation. More inflammation, more likelihood you’ll end up with travel pain triggered by a tight, uncomfortable airline seat.

A neck pillow for sleeping on the plan may save your vacation!

A neck pillow for sleeping on the plane may save your vacation!

Rule 3: Neck pillows help.
Those semicircle “cervical pillows” that you see people carrying around on their shoulders or suitcases as the travel through the airport to their gate, really work to support your neck and head. Should you fall asleep on the plane, the last thing you want is your neck bent at a 90 degree angle with your ear on your shoulder. Waking up from a “bent neck nap” can be the vacation destroyer if you neck goes into spasm. It can take as long as a week for the painful tension to relax to the point of being symptom free.

What is the best sleep position?

Just using these three tips alone, could mean the difference between pain free travel or a vacation wrought with missed opportunity and painful waiting for the others to come back from fun excursions. Neck and back travel pain triggered by flying is largely preventable, but you have to do the right things. And while you may never know what difference these 3 tools make, if you fly pain free and enjoy your vacation, it doesn’t matter. Rest assured, doing the right thing, is always the right thing, whether the benefits are quantifiable or not.

What should you do if you do have a “pinched nerve” in your neck?


Preventing Back Pain.