Travel Neck Pillows

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Posture Support Products


If you get back pain when sitting, then you probably know that train, bus and aeroplane seats are not necessarily your best friend. You might need some products to help get you to your destination pain free.

A lumbar support pillow or a lumbar support roll can be used to make your seat more comfortable and support your lower back. For upper back or neck pain, then travel neck pillows can help.

However, I often see other passengers on flights using inflatable neck pillows which have been inflated too much, or too little for their neck shape and size. If your travel neck pillow is poorly fitted, it can actually give you neck pain! The correct shape and size of your neck pillow depends on the curves and depth of your neck.

Firstly, you must know the correct position for your neck while sitting or lying. This is known through education on posture correction and awareness. Then you inflate or purchase a travel neck pillow to fit your neck snugly.

Without using a travel neck pillow, your neck tends to fall or lean in awkward positions while you sleep and rest, and this frequently results in muscles and joints in your neck straining, often resulting in pain. If you travel frequently, and fall asleep in unsupported and awkward neck postures, long term damage to your neck can result.

If you don’’t have a travel neck pillow, you can always make one! Rollup a towel or a thin soft jumper and place it around your neck. It should be the correct thickness required to hold and support your neck in its correct alignment. This is not as good as a well made travel neck pillow, but it definitely better than no support at all.

If you have a tendency to fall asleep while sitting watching television, your travel pillow can also be used for this!

It is always worth understanding the size and shape of your spinal curves. My advice is to seek a physiotherapist’s advice on the measurements of your curves, so that you will be capable of supporting your neck and back effectively if the situation arises.

Purchase a good quality and well-fitting travel neck pillow when possible, and use it when required. Prevention is always better than cure!

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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