Back and neck pain are common problems experienced when travelling or staying away from home - so here are some ideas to help you enjoy a more comfortable summer break.
In the car:
- Make sure you sit with good posture - if your car doesn’t have enough low back support use a rolled up towel (pick the right size!) or buy a purpose-designed lumbar roll.
- Don’t allow your chin to poke forwards as you peer out the windscreen - especially at night! This is a very common habit and can result in a stiff and sore neck. The back of your head should be just touching the headrest support and your chin should be tucked towards your Adam’s apple.
- Take breaks – get out and walk about every hour or so even if just for a few minutes.
On the plane:
- Don’t fall asleep in an awkward position - try and keep your back in its normal alignment (again a small lumbar roll can help with this) and use a horse shoe shaped neck support to help stop your neck kinking into the wrong position.
- Remember sustained positioning when your joints are not in neutral alignment can cause damage and pain – so avoid it.
- If you're on a long flight, get up and walk every two hours. This will also help your circulation.
- Lots of people suffer as a result of sleeping in a strange bed. Whilst there’s not a lot you can do about the bed itself you can alter the pillows (or take your own).
- The pillow’s purpose is to fill the space between the head and neck and the mattress. If you sleep on your back your pillow should be fairly flat. If you’re on your side that pillow should fill the space between your shoulder and head to ensure your neck is held straight and doesn’t drop down toward the mattress (too flat pillows) or is pushed away (too many pillows) - it should be ‘just right’.
Words by Kara Mulvein.