How to Avoid Neck Pain While Traveling

January 7, 2019

Traveling to a new destination is exciting, but the journey itself can take a toll on your health and happiness if you do not make an effort to avoid neck pain while you are in the car or plane.

While you are traveling, you are most likely looking at your phone or laptop, reading a book, or sleeping in an awkward position, and all of these activities can cause neck pain. Here are a few ways to combat that neck pain so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

 

Use a Travel Pillow

 

One of the easiest (and most comfortable!) ways to stave off neck pain is to make use of a travel neck pillow. Looking down at your phone or a book for too long or craning your neck at an awkward angle to sleep can cause neck pain and discomfort, but utilizing a neck pillow will help you keep your neck straight and upright. Even if you are leaning to one side, the pillow will ensure that you do not bend your neck too far.

 

Take Time to Relax

 

Instead of using your travel time to catch up on emails or write reports, use that time to relax. If you are stressed, you will start to feel that tension in your neck, which is then difficult to eliminate without the use of painkillers or muscle relaxers. Listening to soothing music or an interesting podcast, watching a funny movie, or reading one of your favorite books are all great ways to relax and recharge.

 

Stretch

 

If you do start to feel some pain and stiffness in your neck while you are traveling, there are a few stretches you can use to decrease the pain. Use your left hand to gently pull your head down and to the left and hold that position for 15-20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. You can also move your head in a circular motion, taking care to stretch your neck forward, backward, and to the side while doing so.

 

Take Walking Breaks

 

Sitting in a car or airplane for 6+ hours can really take a toll on your body and cause neck pain if you do not periodically get out of your seat and walk around for a few minutes. When the captain turns off the seatbelt sign on the plane, you can get up and walk up and down the aisle once every couple of hours. Or, if you are in a car, ask the driver to stop the car every hour or two so you can get out and take a five-minute walk.

 

Self-Massage

 

You likely will not be able to seek out a masseuse until you reach your destination, but if you need immediate relief, you can effectively massage yourself to relieve neck pain. You can simply use your fingers to apply rhythmic pressure to your neck and shoulders, or you can use a tool, such as a tennis ball or a battery-operated massage wand for even more neck pain relief.