When you travel on an airplane, it’s typical to develop neck pain, especially if you sit in an uncomfortable position or sit for a long period of time. If you have experienced neck or back pain during or after flying, here are some tips you can use during your next travel:

  1. Carry over-the-counter medication

If you have chronic pain, before boarding a plane or you develop neck pain during or after flying, it is advisable you carry over the counter medication. Painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation. However, if you experience neck pain before flying, consider taking these medications prior to your flight.

  1. Use a travel neck pillow

When flying, your posture can determine whether or not you will develop neck pain. For instance, leaning against the window or laying your head on the tray table is not a good position because your neck muscles will stiffen thus causing pain. To avoid this, you can carry a travel neck pillow to correct your posture and minimize the chances of developing neck pain.

  1. Get up and walk around while flying

One of the main causes of neck pain is sitting for a long period of time in the same position with the wrong posture. Therefore, get up and walk around the plane when the pilot turns off the seat belt sign. This will not only loosen your muscles but can also keep your neck in its right position.

  1. Relax

Before you fly, you should engage in activities that will help you relax. In addition, you can gather materials that will help you relax while on the plane. For instance, you can carry novels and magazines that will stimulate your mind. Alternatively, you can create a playlist to keep you occupied while on the plane to avoid sleeping during the flight.

  1. Stretch out

If your neck is feeling stiff, you can loosen the muscles by stretching out even if you are sitting down. However, you should only practice stretches that are approved by a physical therapist to avoid worsening your condition.

  1. Try a self-massage tool

You can carry a self-massage tool or use a tennis ball to massage your neck muscles during the flight. If the massage tool is battery operated, it is important to confirm with the airline whether such devices are allowed on the plane. This is advisable if you have a long flight, your neck is stiff or you have extreme neck pain.

  1. Apply heat and/or cold therapy

Heat therapy is known to reduce neck stiffness thus allowing your neck to heal. Cold therapy, on the other hand, performs the same function although cold packs of ice are used instead. If you are planning to use heat or cold therapy, you can plan with the flight attendant in advance to avoid inconveniences.


If you’re experiencing neck pain, it is also advisable you see a physician before flying. For neck pain relief, call us for a consultation, 888-409-8006.