Neck pain can disrupt life at any moment for those who suffer from this unfortunate condition. Even activities that many people consider normal, such as exercise or sitting at a desk, can cause discomfort and derail productivity and enjoyment. It is a condition that profoundly affects your quality of life.
One of the primary triggers for those with neck pain is travel. Whether you are headed out on a business trip or vacation getaway, minimizing the risk and severity of neck pain is essential to the trip. So, how do you live life to the fullest, especially when driving down the road or soaring through the skies, when you have neck pain?
While everyone is different, there are a handful of helpful travel tips for people with neck pain. Following these tips can help you face your impending journey without fear of another flare-up of pain. Check them out below!
Get Up and Move
The cramped spaces and prolonged periods of sitting associated with travel put tremendous stress on your body, especially if you already struggle with neck pain. It simply isn’t a healthy environment for anyone, let alone those with preexisting conditions.
If you are traveling in a manner that allows you to stop, be sure to do so at least once an hour. Don’t worry; you don’t have to stop for long—just enough to get up, move around, and stretch a little. Interrupting the cramped posture of travel with movement helps improve blood flow and keep muscles loose.
In environments that do not facilitate frequent stops and open spaces, try to move around when possible. From walking the airplane aisle to the bathroom to changing positions and stretching a bit in your seat, any movement is better than no movement at all.
Bring a Pillow
Travel involves sleeping in unfamiliar territory. From luxury hotels to overnight flights to couch surfing, sleeping somewhere new can wreak havoc on your back and neck. Bringing your own pillow can alleviate some of this unavoidable stress on your neck by providing the comfort and support you’ve worked hard to find.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask for extra pillows wherever you are staying. You can use these bonus pillows to adjust your sleeping position in a bed that is too firm or too soft. Try to keep neutral spine alignment by placing pillows strategically under your waist, back, and so on. The extra effort will go a long way toward a healthier, happier trip.
Posture, Posture, Posture
Being confined to a small space for an extended period of time is challenging. Throw in poor posture, and you have a recipe for neck pain. That’s why it’s more important than ever to focus on maintaining good posture as you travel, especially when the seating isn’t the greatest.
Remember to keep your body properly-aligned by stacking your shoulders over your hips and your head over your shoulders. Strive not to slouch, hunch, or otherwise break the vertical alignment of your spine. If you are driving, this may involve some experimentation to find the perfect seating position that facilitates good posture while still allowing you to reach the pedals and steering wheel comfortably.
Consult Your Doctor
If you have travel plans and are concerned about how your neck pain may interfere or worsen along the way, have a candid conversation with your doctor. They can work with you to address your specific concerns, develop a plan unique to your condition, and personalize a healthy approach to travel that takes your itinerary into consideration.