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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Does Traveling For Long Periods Cause You Neck Pain? These Tips Can Help!

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 04:16 PM

Neck_Pain_FB-1.jpgSummer is in full swing, which means lots of people will be planning to go on a trip. Whether it's for vacation, visiting family, or even for work, most people will be going somewhere. Unfortunately, traveling can be a big cause of anxiety for people. There is the stress of planning, packing, and preparing for the trip, and if you are bringing children that stress multiplies exponentially. In addition to all of that, people who suffer with back or neck pain have the added concern of how to make it through the actual trip without aggravating their problem and causing more of that pain.

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Whether it be in a car, plane, or train, being forced to sit in upright seats for a long period of time can sometimes cause severe pain in both the lower back and the neck. A study on ergonomics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that a common cause of disorders of the musculoskeletal system is simply maintaining an awkward position for a prolonged period. This is especially true for the neck, which is extremely vulnerable to problems while traveling but is often commonly overlooked by many people until it is too late. 

While many people have accepted neck pain and discomfort while traveling as being normal, it definitely is not. If you do not address these problems, you can wind up experiencing shooting pain, tightness in your shoulders, recurring headaches, disc pain, and even arthritis. These tips will help you to protect your neck and prevent any pain from occurring while taking a trip:

‣ Bring a Pillow - A good travel pillow can be a great investment to help prevent neck pain. They are extremely helpful in keeping the neck in a safe and neutral position. Many are even small enough to fit in a carry-on so they can be brought on planes.

‣ Roll Up a Blanket - If you don't have a travel pillow or couldn't bring it with, try rolling up a blanket to place behind your neck. Or if a blanket is not available, any kind of clothing will work, such as a shirt, shorts, or a jacket. Bunch up whatever you are using so it is about the size of your fist, and place it at the nape of your neck to give yourself optimal support.

‣ Avoid Drooping - Your neck is curved like the letter "C", and whenever this natural curve of your neck is altered for a prolonged period it can lead to severe neck pain. This often occurs from doing activities like reading, or using a tablet or smartphone, where people are usually looking down for extended periods without even realizing it. Doing this repeatedly can often lead to degeneration of the discs in your neck.

‣ DO NOT Aim Fans At Your Neck - When it is hot, many people like to aim fans directly on their neck because they think it cools them down faster. This is a big mistake. All of that cold air focused directly on the neck cools the muscles down and can cause muscle spasms and pain.

‣ Adjust Your Headrest - Many people set their headrest to match with their stature and height. But instead, you should set it to an elevated position so that the middle of the headrest touches the middle of your head. This keeps your neck in a more neutral position.

‣ Stretch - Stretch as much as possible! After just 20 minutes of your spine being idle, spinal fluids can travel back into the discs and cause them to become enlarged and lead to discomfort and pain. Doing a few gentile stretches can help to alleviate this problem. Also try to get up as soon as possible and move around a bit.


At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate people as much as possible about their back, neck, and sciatica pain, because it has been proven that the more people know about their pain the more likely they will be to get rid of it!

Our 9 Step Solution specializes in treating the causes of back pain and sciatica. Are you ready to put an end to your pain? Schedule a Free Consultation by calling us at 844-408-0462 or click here!


Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.