Trying to fall asleep in an airplane can be challenging, especially if you are flying economy, as there is not much space for you to comfortably rest your head. If you know that you will be travelling for a long period of time in the near future, it is worth reading these 7 ways to prevent you from developing neck pains during your flight.


7 Tips to Avoid Neck Pain in an Airplane


1. Pack Medication

When preparing for a long flight, pack over-the-counter pain medication, that contains ibuprofen or naproxen in your carry-on luggage. These medications can help reduce inflammation and lessen pain from a stiff, sore neck.

2. Travel Pillows

It is advised to not lean your head against the window or on the food tray as this will hunch your back and twist your neck, causing neck and back pain. Rather bring on board a travel-sized neck pillow that will keep your neck straight and upright during the flight, minimizing the painful effects of incorrect posture.

3. Relax

Being able to relax and not fixate on your current or potential pain from the flight can aid in preventing pain. To relax on the flight, try listen to soothing music, read a novel or magazine, or think about all the fun activities you are going to do on your vacation.

A woman sits in an airplane, looking out the window.

4. Walk Around

Don’t be afraid to get up and have a walk around the aisle in an airplane. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your back and neck, therefore it is important to give your spine a break by going for a walk and loosening your muscles.


5. Stretch

If you are unable to walk around or find that you are still stiff after your walk, you can try simple stretching exercises, while you are seated. Some airline companies have videos that can show you effective exercises to loosen your muscles on their in-flight entertainment system.

6. Self-Massaging Tools

You can consider bringing on board a self-massaging tool, which can fit in your hand luggage or purse, to use on your neck if it becomes too stiff. Another option is planning to have a professional massage before and after your flight.


7. Heat/Cold Therapy

A disposable heat wrap can be placed on your neck to encourage blood flow, reduce stiffness and allow the neck to heal. Use a heat wrap before your flight or carry them in your hand luggage. Alternatively, you can use cold therapy instead of heat therapy for pain relief. You can carry plastic bags with you and ask a flight attendant to fill a bag with ice to make an ice pack.


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