How to Avoid Back and Neck Pain When Travelling

Do you suffer from back and neck problems which seem to be aggravated by sitting for prolonged periods? Do you commute or travel regularly by car, plane or train? Read on for some tips on how to prevent back and neck pain when travelling.

If you are a back or neck pain sufferer, long journeys can be an uncomfortable and, sometimes, unpleasant experience and can often aggravate a pre-existing condition which may then niggle for some time after you have arrived at your destination.


Planes, Trains and Automobiles! Here are our tips:

  • Airlines no longer seem to offer pillows and blankets during short-haul flights so take an inflatable pillow with you, it will provide good support for your head and neck when flying. If you forget to take one, do ask the cabin crew for a pillow. Even if they are not distributing them to all passengers, they may carry a couple of spares on board. Similarly, when travelling by train or coach or as a traveller in a car, you can use an inflatable pillow for longer journeys.
  • If you suffer from back pain, roll a pillow, blanket, or your jacket into a lower back support. There are a number of lightweight cushions and posture correctors on the market but make sure that you find one that works well for you in advance of travelling. Seek advice from your osteopath if you are uncertain about which one is best.
  • Buying a car? Consider the seats. Many cars have seats that are ergonomically designed to offer comfort and support so ask the dealer for detailed information and, when you take the vehicle for a test drive, make a point of adjusting the seat to ensure it suits your needs and that it offers adequate support.
  • Once on your journey, try not to sit in one position for too long and get up for an occasional ‘stroll and stretch’. Generally, try to keep all your joints and muscles moving (this will also prevent blood from pooling in your legs). If you are travelling by car, take regular breaks and go for a walk when you stop at a service station.
  • Try doing some gentle neck and back exercises to loosen your muscles and keep your joints moving. Again, ask your osteopath for advice if you are uncertain what exercises to do.
  • Try to relax and not to get too stressed by delays and cancellations as stress can lead to neck and back tension which may aggravate the pain.
  • Finally, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If you are feeling sluggish and unwell due to dehydration, this will add to any discomfort you may be feeling from neck and back pain.

car journey stress


If you would like any further information on how to take care of your neck and back, do not hesitate to contact one of our Osteopaths on 020 8977 3295.  Happy, pain-free travelling!