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Six tips to stop neck and back pain spoiling your holiday

Travelling can be a real flashpoint for back and neck pain so read ahead for tips to avoid arriving in a state that means you don't enjoy your precious time away.

If you’re heading off on holiday, you might do lots of walking or other activities without much

opportunity for rest, as there’s so much to see or do. Alternatively, you might go to the other

extreme and spend a week on a sun lounger. If you have neck or back problems, either

option might cause pain. However, have you thought about the journey itself? If you’re flying, your time at the airport might involve walking, lifting heavy luggage, or waiting around for something to happen. It can all make your neck and back pain worse.

With that in mind, here are our tips to stop neck and back pain spoiling your holiday before you've even arrived !

Choose the right clothes

Dressing comfortably during your journey helps you relax and makes moving around freely

at the airport or on your flight easier. The footwear you choose is particularly important. It

should be supportive and comfortable. Flip-flops are great for the beach but don’t offer much support if you’re walking around. High heels can affect your posture and increase back pain, especially if you’re walking or lifting heavy suitcases.

Trainers are ideal as they’re cushioned and supportive. You can also loosen them if your feet swell during your flight.

Pack wisely

If you’re boarding a plane, you’ll probably have a generous luggage allowance but it doesn't mean you have to use all of it ! Even if you’re loading up the car to get on a ferry, it’s worth thinking about how you pack and how it affects your neck and back. Even if you have suitcases with wheels, you’ll need to lift them into the car and out at the other end. At the airport, you may use a luggage trolley, and you’ll still have to lift your cases onto the conveyor belt at check-in and then off the conveyor at the other end. Even a small amount of lifting can cause pain to your back, so it’s worth reducing it as much as possible. Try choosing two smaller cases instead of one big one so the load is spread.

Reduce and prevent pain

If you already take medication for your neck or back pain or have painkillers that you know

work, keep them with you while you travel. It’s better to have them and not need them than

need them and not have them. A box of ibuprofen or paracetamol doesn’t take up much

space in your hand luggage. If you take prescription painkillers, bring a copy of your

prescription and ensure you have the labelled box with you in case you need to show it.

Speak to your travel agent or check Government guidance for the country you’re travelling

to, as some countries are extremely strict about what you’re allowed to bring in.

A small towel can be rolled and folded into many shapes to help support a sore back or neck .

A travel neck pillow can reduce pain by providing neck support, but it’s also worth putting a

small towel in your hand luggage. You can roll it up into a sausage shape to provide lumber

support and adjust it as needed

Keep moving

Moving around can be tricky if you’re on an overnight flight and want to sleep. However,

moving around will help prevent pain that can arise if you sit in the same position for hours.

We recommend that if you’re sitting for 30 minutes, you should walk around for two of them.

You can stand up and walk around on a plane, train or ferry. When you fly, try to book an

aisle or bulkhead seat to get out easily or stretch your legs. If you can’t get up for safety

reasons, try tucking your chin into your chest to extend your neck, stretch your arms and

move your shoulders.

When you arrive at your destination, keep moving. Go for a walk to explore or head to the pool for a gentle swim. Motion is lotion, and it helps your back and neck stay pain-free.

Have a drink

Sorry, we mean water! Staying hydrated is essential, especially as planes are already dehydrating environments. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent pain by keeping the discs between your vertebrae in good shape. They act as cushions between the bone, so if they’re plump and springy, they offer better protection than if they’re dry and desiccated. Stay away from alcohol until after you’ve arrived. It causes dehydration, and its effects are more potent when on a plane.......especially if you have taken pain medication. Plenty of time for cocktails when you arrive.


Ok, maybe not for short flights but for longer haul flights absolutely, even if it's just catnapping. Poor sleep, especially chronically, is well known to be detrimental to the health of pretty much all of our tissues and that includes the soft tissues of the discs, muscles and fascia on the spine. Remember, when you arrive you will go from being very static to having to walk the airport and run the gauntlet of the dreaded baggage reclaim ! All placing a load on the already sluggish discs, muscles and ligaments. They'll cope far better if they arrive having had soem restorative sleep. We also don't cope with pain when tired and pain sensitivity is heightened making it all the more likely that psychologically you won't roll with the punches quite so well if sleep deprived. Fuses are shorter and tempers can flare when faced with the inevitable irritations that travelling brings. Try to get a little sleep rather than binging on the free movies and hopefully arrive feeling a little more ready to face the trials of the airport and get poolside quicker.


Taking a few simple steps can prevent neck and back pain when you travel or help you

manage it if you already have neck or back problems. We hope you have a wonderful

holiday and please bring some sushine back with you !

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