How to Reduce Back Pains While Traveling

Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 28th Nov 2013

Traveling – no matter how many miles – can often mean a recipe for disaster. Especially during the winter holidays, when more people than ever are attempting to get to a distant location. Whether headed to a family event, a conference for work, or to a much-needed vacation, being on the go can cause stress. Even when the destination is set to be a relaxing, rewarding one, getting there can be an ongoing hassle.

This can mean added stress on the muscles, pains from sitting in public transportation for hours on end, and headaches from bumping into too many strangers.

For those who already suffer from back pains, the effects are only multiplied. And even those with perfect spinal health can start to feel the effects of low-grade cushions and carrying too much weight. No matter the cause of your traveling-induced stress, remember the following for a relaxing, pain-free trip.

Use Rolling Luggage

Though airlines have a limit for carry-on items, 50 pounds is still too much weight to haul over your shoulder for hours on end. Combined with walking and frequent lifting, and soon pains start to develop in the back, shoulders, and neck areas. Instead, use rolling luggage to avoid all that heavy lifting. And for maximum pain relief, use four-wheeled versions, which provide the least amount of resistance.

Stand Up Straight

Though airport, car, or bus seats may make this hard to do, keeping the spine straight is the quickest way to reduce pain. It increases circulation, reduces pressure in awkward places, and keeps the body in a healthy, upright position. The same goes when sitting.

Look to Supportive Pillows

When sleeping or sitting long-term, look to the help of foam pillows or head supports. Coming in all sizes and functions, these items add support when it isn’t otherwise available – as well as creating comfort in very limited spaces. These types of traveling products also reduce pressure on pained areas, such as the lower back or coccyx, which can become inflamed (and more painful) without the proper care.

Though it can be tough on the road, try to consume as many healthy foods as possible. Ask for water or juice on the plane, and choose fresh items when sitting down for meals (or picking up something on the run). Most airports offer deli sandwiches, salads, or even fruits that can be added to a meal or snack. Veggie-based drinks, like V8, are also a healthy alternative. Though somewhat pricey, taking in as many vitamins as possible will help keep the body working properly. (Eating too many fats can bog down the system, creating pains, slower digestive functions, and headaches.)

Sticking to regular meal times can also increase body functions when on the go.


Many pains – especially in the back – come from tensing one’s muscles. Find an effective way to relax (even in the most stressful situations) to fight these trigger aches. Consider a massage chair, headphones piping your favorite music, an airport drink … whatever helps melt the stress.

Listen to Your Body

Perhaps the most important tip of all, do what your body is telling you to do. Small pains should be addressed early on, tired travelers should get a nap, and hungry ones should eat. By doing what your body needs, you can easily avoid more intense issues later on.

Travelers agree that body aches are increased while on the road. Whether they’re caused from an increase in stress or the change in daily activities (such as lifting, changes in seating patterns, etc.), it’s best to put a stop to these problems early on. The next time you hit the road, remember the above to reduce all your traveling-induced pains.