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7 Tips To Avoiding Back Pain During Holiday Travel

Authored by Dr. William Kemp, MD. December 7, 2022

The holiday season is upon us, and whether you’re flying, driving, or taking a train to visit family and friends, it’s inevitable to end up stationary for long periods of time. There are some very simple things that can be done to help make traveling more comfortable, and keep you out of pain. Here are seven tips to avoiding back pain during your holiday travel.

Tips to Avoid Back Pain During Holiday Travel

1. Aisle seat on a plane

Booking an aisle seat makes it so much easier for when you need to get in and out, and also gives you more room if you need to stretch out a bit.

2. Luggage weight

Pack as lightly as possible, especially if you are carrying your luggage. If packing light isn’t an option, use airline assistance and your hotel’s bellhop to get your luggage to and from where it needs to go.

3. Use a carry-on with wheels

By using a carry-on with wheels, it takes pressure off of your back and lessens your risk of straining it. If you don’t have a wheeled carry-on, using a backpack is best as it keeps the weight distributed evenly across your body.

4. Neck pillow/inflatable pillow

Using a pillow will help support your head and neck while sleeping in an upright position.

5. Create your own lumbar support

Roll up a small towel, t-shirt, or blanket to the appropriate size based on how much support you need, and place it in the small of your back.

6. Take frequent stops when driving

If you know your limit then stop accordingly. If you don’t know your limit, try drinking 1-2 cups of water per hour to help you stop. Be sure to stretch and move around when stopping.

7. Wear your seatbelt

If you are unfortunately in a car accident, or be in some turbulence when you are on a plane, having the seatbelt fastened can make a big difference from just being merely sore versus having a significant injury.


Everyone hopes to get through traveling and the holidays without back pain. But if something does go wrong and you hurt your back, don’t push through it. Reach out to us at Virginia Spine Institute for a full and comprehensive evaluation.

Dr. William Kemp is a fellowship-trained spine neurosurgeon at Virginia Spine Institute. As a minimally invasive and complex spine neurosurgeon, Dr. Kemp takes pride in utilizing his extensive knowledge of the nervous system to find answers for his patients and provide operative and non-operative solutions to help them reach their goals. His genuine passion for helping others drives a commitment to the highest standard of care and helps patients get back to enjoying life. Learn more about Dr. Kemp.

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Reviewed by: Dr. William Kemp, MD.

Reviewed by: Dr. William Kemp, MD.

About The Author

Dr. William Kemp, MD

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