How to relieve neck and back pain caused by travel
If sitting causes pain, take breaks to move and stretch
About an hour after every car or plane ride, the side of my back starts to hurt, and that’s partly because bodies aren’t supposed to sit still. “Movement is key to keeping blood flowing to your muscles and joints to help prevent stiffness and pain,” Ms Louw explained. Ideally, you’ll want to get up and walk around at least once an hour if you’re in pain, Dr. Kennedy advised. If you have trouble remembering to do this, set a timer or drink plenty of water so you need frequent bathroom breaks, he suggested. (Dr. Venesy said she preferred aisle seating so she could stand up regularly.)
As for how to sit, Ms Louw said sitting upright or slightly reclined is usually the best position for the spine. Dr Venesy added that rolling up a sweatshirt or fleece and resting it behind your lower back could also provide lumbar support to relieve pain.
Stretching can also be helpful. A good stretch to do while seated is a spinal twist, where you put both hands on one leg and gently twist your upper body in the same direction, then repeat on the other side, Dr. Venesy said. . A good seated stretch for your lower back and hips is a figure-four stretch, where you rest your right heel on your left knee and lean forward, and vice versa, she added. Dr. Kennedy said it can also feel good to stand up and lean back slightly. (If you’re in pain from standing for a long time, the opposite might ease your pain — leaning forward, he said.)
If you experience leg cramps while sitting, try pumping your ankles — alternately pointing then flexing your feet — with your knees bent and extended, Ms Louw suggested.
Prevent neck pain by reading or looking at the tablets at eye level and using a neck pillow
If you’re like me, you look down on a lot during flights or as a passenger in a car – on your phone, tablet or book. But this position can cause neck pain, Dr. Kennedy said. It’s best to get things closer to eye level. Some planes now have devices that let you clip your phone or tablet to the back of the seat in front of you, he said, and you can also buy accessories that will do this for you (or even make one yourself). from a disease bag).
If you think you’re going to doze off on the plane or the car, you can also invest in a neck pillow. Dr. Kennedy prefers models that are thinner in the back than on the sides because they don’t tilt your head too far forward when you lean against the seat.