Holiday vacations can be tons of fun and a great way to destress after a long year, but rarely is the journey the best part of your trip. Oftentimes our long flights and road trips leave us with aching necks and uncomfortably tight muscles.

The problem with sitting for extended periods of time is that eventually our bodies become fatigued and start to slouch, causing the spine to lose its natural curve and become rounded. If we fall asleep on an airplane or in a bus, our necks start to slump down into our chest or on our shoulders. The added stress put on the body in that situation eventually cramps the muscles, causing back problems and neck pain.

Here are a few recommendations for managing and avoiding your travel-related aches and pains so you can enjoy a pain-free holiday vacation.

Preventing Travel-Related Neck Pain

Bring a Pillow – If you tend to fall asleep on long-distance trips, having a supportive pillow can keep your neck from slouching while you sleep. Not everyone’s neck is the same, so you should pick out and test your pillow before the trip. For some people, a U-neck pillow is sufficient for comfort, but for others, a regular pillow or even a padded neck brace can be just as comfortable while keeping your neck in alignment during your mid-transit nap.

Oftentimes you don’t have much room for storage when you travel. If you’re worried about storage space, consider buying an inflatable pillow. You can easily deflate these pillows and store them in a purse or carry-on bag.

Take Breaks – Whether driving or flying, try to take a few breaks to avoid muscle tightness. Get up, walk around, and stretch if you can. If you’re on a road trip, use the gas station and food breaks to your advantage. Walk inside and order instead of sitting at the drive-thru. Stretch and do some exercises while refueling your car. By taking frequent breaks you’re giving your muscles some much-needed exercise that can prevent tightness and cramps that lead to back and neck pain while traveling.

Stretching is a great way to relax the muscles and relieve you of any stiffness. One of the most common causes of neck pain is from poor posture and stiffness. Whether you’re sleeping in a plane or sitting on a bus, there are a few stretches and exercises you can do to help “reset” your posture, stretch those muscles, and alleviate any neck pain.

What to Do After a Long Journey

Rehydrate – After a long trip, the first thing you want to do is drink water. Keeping your body hydrated is an important step in keeping your muscles healthy. Not only can dehydration reduce your strength and stamina, but it can also cause cramping and muscle fatigue, leaving you feeling exhausted.  Staying hydrated during your travels and after the journey is over will minimize muscle fatigue, cramping, and pain.

Sleep with Support – Sleeping is the best way to recharge after a long drive or flight. Make sure you get plenty of rest at the right time, so you can feel renewed while avoiding any potential jet lag. Try sleeping in a position that’s comfortable for your back and keeps it in alignment. With proper rest you can reduce the stress on your spine and wake up feeling more refreshed and energized.

Get Neck Pain out of the Driver’s Seat

If pain has become an unwelcome stowaway on your vacation, and you just can’t seem to shake it, schedule an appointment with us at Airrosti. Our providers can find the root cause of your pain and treat it right at the source. We’re ready to help you live, travel, and spend the rest of your vacations pain free.

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