Category Archives: Travel

Tips for traveling without neck or back pain.

Travel Pain-Free This Holiday Season

This holiday season has begun. With the merriment and joy surrounding this time of year, comes the, sometimes, daunting task of holiday travel. Whether you’re traveling by plane or by car, these tips will help keep you feeling fresh and energized so you can fully enjoy your time with friends and family.

  • Pack light: Bring only the necessities to minimize your chances of over-packing. Try to avoid packing everything in one large suitcase. Instead, pack two smaller suitcases. This makes it easier to lift bags in and out of the car or in and out of overhead bins.
  • Lift bags in stages: Start by lifting your bag to the seat armrest, then to the top of the seatback, and lastly up and into the bin. Do this same pattern in reverse when removing your luggage. Lifting luggage slowly and in stages helps prevent muscle strain. Ask the flight attendants for help if you feel you may struggle with your luggage. When you are lifting, never twist. This is a common cause of lower back injuries. Pivot your feet so your entire body moves in the same direction instead of only your back twisting.
  • Bring a travel pillow: By bringing your own pillow, you ensure you’ll have proper support wherever you are going. Stop in to try out our travel size pillows, such as the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow. We’ll help you find the perfect one.
  • Dress comfortably: Wear layers of non-restrictive clothes that allow you to comfortably move. Temperatures vary from airports to airplanes so layers will help keep you feeling comfortable.
  • Keep moving: Long flights or car rides have us sitting in the same position for too long. Book an aisle seat so you can easily move about the cabin when allowed. Make pit stops along the way when driving. Moving around as often as possible will avoid muscle stiffness and tension. Simple stretches and massage techniques and tools help to loosen muscle tension. Handheld massagers like Cohen’s Acuball Kit fit in carry-on luggage for quick relief.
  • Sit with support: It will not come as a surprise that airline seats do not have the best lumbar support. Use a back cushion, like the Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find proper support during your travels. Seat cushions can also provide joint pressure relief while increasing circulation during long flights or car rides.
  • Be realistic: Make plans depending on how your body and energy levels feel and remember to pace yourself. Plan the more physical parts of your trip earlier in the day with frequent breaks. Try not to overdo it in the beginning so you can enjoy your entire trip.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who can help you prepare for your holiday travel. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more holiday tips to keep you happy and healthy this season.

Travel Pain-Free This Summer

Summer vacations are in full swing. Whether you are traveling with kids, your partner, friends, or alone, pain and flare-ups can inconvenience your plans. Long car rides, bumpy flights, and unforgiving seats cause back and leg muscles to stiffen, in addition to putting unnecessary stress on the spine.

Pain shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying some much needed time off. Wherever it is you are going, follow these simple steps to reduce aches and stress so you can enjoy your travels.

  • Keep moving: Maintaining your workout routine, even a modified version, as well as stretching often, will help keep your muscles loose and circulation flowing. Pack a handheld massager or foam roller to work out knots and tense muscles caused by prolonged sitting. Our Theracane is also a great portable tool.
  • Pack lightly: Instead of packing one heavy, large suitcase, pack two smaller bags. This will make lifting bags overhead into airplane bins, and in and out of the car, much easier.
  • Lift properly: Lift luggage slowly and in stages. Avoid twisting by pivoting your feet so your entire body moves in the same direction. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries.
  • Bring support: Airline seats and even some car seats do not offer adequate lumbar support. Pack an inflatable back cushion, such as our Self-Inflating Back Rest, to easily and quickly add support. Bring a U-Shaped Travel Pillow whenever you’re traveling to help you rest comfortably.
  • Grab your pillow: When traveling, we often sleep on pillows that are not our own. They may not have the support you need for your body type, which leads to pain. Bring a pillow that is fit to your body type. The ContourSide Pillow comes in two travel sizes for a better fit.

How Do You Travel? Finding Personalized Comfort On-The-Go

Whether you are traveling for vacation or you are commuting to work, the products you surround yourself with can have a big impact on your overall health. By optimizing your traveling habits to fit your specific needs, you can increase comfort and prevent pain before it begins. These travel products will help you get to your final destinations with proper support.

Back Supports

Airline and train seats aren’t known for their outstanding lumbar support. Bringing along a back cushion will ensure you have extra spinal support during your travels. Those who suffer from a herniated disc or sciatica can benefit from using a back cushion. The Self-Inflating Back Rest is an easily portable lumbar support perfect for traveling or for use during your commute. The JazzRX is instantly adjustable allowing for maximum positioning flexibility and relief where you need it most.

Neck Supports

Neck pillows and supports help you maintain posture while sitting or sleeping, while also relieving neck strain associated with standard seating. Travel pillows are light and portable so you can find comfort in airplanes, trains, or cars. While driving or flying, the Tempur-Pedic U-Shaped Travel Pillow eliminates pressure points while preventing back and neck pain. Staying at a hotel? The ContourSide travel pillow is soothing on the face while also providing jaw and ear pressure relief. You can rest comfortably and maintain proper posture wherever you go.

Seat Cushions

Promote a healthy back and remain pain-free with our wide variety of seat cushions. Seat cushions provide relief for those suffering from pelvis pain, coccyx pain, and sciatica. The Technogel Living Seat Cushion and the ContourSit Ergonomic Seat Cushion both provide additional spinal and hip support allowing you to sit in the ergonomically correct “S” curve position. These are ideal for cars with bucket seats. For those who require extra support to ensure comfort, the Sacro Ease Back Support provides personalized lumbar and seated support for lasting comfort while traveling. It is custom-bent to fit your specific needs and ideal for those who drive a Prius, or a car where the built-in seating may not provide enough support.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist and try out our travel products. Through one-on-one support, our team will help you find the product solution to ensure you are traveling comfortably without pain. Follow our 24-hour approach to comfort and wellness on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized relief.

Our Top Travel Products + Tips For Pain Free Flying

Long flights can be hard on your back, neck, and muscles; especially for those who already experience pain in these areas. Sitting for prolonged periods of time stiffens muscles in the back and legs while putting pressure on your spine. Carrying heavy suitcases around from one destination to the next also puts you at risk for lower back injuries.

Relax The Back offers a wide-range of travel products that will increase your comfort levels and support. Easily portable, these products will provide you with the proper support wherever your journey takes you.

  • Self-Inflating Back Rest: Easy to use, easy to carry, and always readily available. One of our most popular travel products, this back rest can be deflated and rolled up for easy transport.
  • U-Shaped Travel Pillow: Made by Tempur-Pedic with their patented material, this pillow is perfect for long flights. TEMPUR material conforms to your head and neck for ultimate comfort and support.
  • Cohens AcuBall Kit: Find relief with heat. This heatable self-massage ball provides post-travel relief by increasing blood flow, enhancing joint motion, and relaxing tight muscles.
  • Theracane: This portable pressure point massager will work wonders on knots and tense muscles caused by prolonged sitting.

In addition to these products, the great infographic below by Thomas Cook provides also tips on how to prepare for your flight and highlights simple exercises you can do on the plane to relieve or prevent pain and stiffness.

If you’re traveling soon or have a long work commute, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with our trained specialists. They will help you find the product solutions for your needs while providing more information on ways to stay pain-free.

Tips for Pain-Free Travel This Holiday Season


Tips for Pain-Free Travel This Holiday Season

While the holidays often mean time off of work, traveling to see friends and family when you have back and neck pain can be taxing. Sitting for long flights and car rides stiffens muscles in the back and the legs and puts stress on your spine. Lugging heavy suitcases also puts you at risk for low back injuries.

Paired with hectic holiday schedules, all of the hustle and bustle can cause unwelcome muscle pain and fatigue. Remember these tips during your travels this year to help reduce pain and stress.

  • Sit with support: Airline seats do not have the best track record when it comes to proper lumbar support. Use an inflatable back cushion, such as the Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find adequate support during your flight. A TravelLite Seat Cushion will also relieve joint pressure and increase circulation during flights or long car rides.
  • Move around: If possibly during longer flights, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow. While seated, occasionally change positions to help avoid leg cramps, improve circulation, and prevent blood clots. Massage your legs and calves and try simple stretches to help loosen muscle tension.
  • Pack light: Pack two smaller bags instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase. This will make lifting bags in and out of overhead bins, off baggage carousels, and in and out of the car much easier.
  • Lift luggage in stages: Lift luggage slowly and in stages. Start by lifting your bag to the seat armrest, then to the top of the seatback, and lastly up and into the bin. Reverse this same pattern when removing your luggage. It’s also a good idea to ask the flight attendants for help if you feel you may strain muscles lifting your luggage.
  • When lifting, never twist: Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. Be sure to pivot your feet so your entire body moves in the same direction instead of only twisting your back.
  • Bring A Travel Pillow: When we travel, we don’t normally have our regular pillows to sleep on. Pillows at your final destination may not be as supportive as you need or are not the perfect fit for your body type, which can lead to pain. Bring a pillow, such as the ContourSide Pillow, that comes in two travel sizes.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more tips to reduce pain and stress this holiday season. Visit to your local Relax The Back store for production solutions to relieve pain during your travels or for great gift ideas for you and your loved ones.

Image source

Top 3 Massage Products For The Road


Whether you’re packing your bags to head somewhere by plane, or dealing with long commutes from the office to your home, pain can make travel times even more unbearable. Sitting for prolonged hours in a car or a plane can cause back and neck pain to flare up. Our bodies absorb the shock of vibrations, swaying from side to side, accelerations, and other forcers associated with driving or flying.

Fortunately, there are a number of massage products that are perfect for traveling and commuting. Massage therapy helps to relieve tension and discomfort before, during, and after your commute.

Massage On The Road

Ease the pain of a long commute or trip with these massage products.

  • Theracane: The perfect handheld massage tool when you’re on the go. Relieve pain and stiffness as you control the pressure to massage deep into tense muscles and knots.
  • Cohen’s Heatable AcuBack Kit: Release tight muscles and joints in your neck and back with this simple, heatable support tool. The AcuBack Kit also helps create effortless upright posture while driving or sitting.
  • Moji Curve Pro Handheld Massager: Dig deep into quads, hamstrings, calves, and hips to release tense muscles. Stainless steel spheres give users the ability to chill – offering the option of an ice massage. The slim design makes this handheld massager easy to store in a suitcase or car.

If you experience pain while traveling or commuting, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialists. They will help you find product solutions to massage away pain and discomfort while making you more comfortable during your commute.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as we give away our favorite massage products for office, home, and travel over the next few weeks!

Reduce Pain While Traveling

Long flights or car rides can be daunting for those who experience back or neck pain. Standing, sitting, or lying in awkward positions for long periods of time is hard on your muscles, joints, and spine. Seats in airplanes, trains, buses, and cars can aggravate back and neck pain as they are not the most comfortable or ergonomically correct.

Here are a few steps that you can take to help reduce pain while traveling:

  • Drink water: Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your trip. Water helps to lubricate and cushion muscles and joints. Staying hydrated will also help keep headaches away.
  • Sit with support: As we mentioned, seats in planes and cars are often uncomfortable and worn out with poor lumbar support. Bringing a lumbar cushion such as our Self Inflating Back Rest will provide support during long car rides and flights. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will give your neck the proper support it needs while also providing comfort. If you’re planning a long road trip and your car has bucket seats, the TravelLite Wedge Seat Cushion will allow for proper spinal alignment. This seat cushion allows you to sit in the ergonomically correct “S” curve position, with added support under your hips.
  • Pack light: Heavy luggage can cause unnecessary strain on your neck and back muscles. Instead of packing one large suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. Lifting bags into and out of your trunk or overhead bins, and off of the baggage carousel will be much easier. Also, when lifting your bags be sure to lift in stages and never twist your back. Instead, pivot your feet so that your entire body moves. If possible, avoid lifting by asking for help from a flight attendant or a passenger nearby.
  • Get up and move: Occasionally changing positions can help prevent leg cramps, blood clots, and stiff muscles. Try this every 20-30 minutes, if possible. Movement helps stimulate circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients into the muscles. This helps to prevent aches from sitting for long periods of time. When available, book an aisle seat to make getting up and out of your seat easy and accessible. If you’re driving, make pit stops to get out of the car and move around.
  • Stretch: Speak with your doctor prior to your trip for safe and easy hamstring and hip stretches that you can do while traveling. Stretching will loosen muscles and provide relief during long periods of sitting.


8 Tips for Traveling with Back Pain

Travel with Back Pain

Traveling can be hard on your muscles, joints, and nerves. Prolonged sitting puts stress on the spine and stiffens muscles in the back and legs and lugging heavy suitcases puts you at risk for low back injuries.

These tips can help you reduce pain and stress while traveling:

  • Pack Light: Instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. This will make lifting bags into and out of the trunk of your car or overhead bins, and off of baggage carousels much easier.
  • Lift luggage in stages: Move slowly and in stages when lifting luggage into the overhead bin. In separate motions, start by lifting the bag to the armrest of the seat, then to the top of the seatback, and finally up and into the bin. Remember to reverse this pattern when you remove your luggage.
  • When lifting, never twist: Pivot your feet so that your entire body moves instead of only twisting your back. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. If possible, avoid lifting all together by asking for help from a flight attendant.
  • Relief with ice and heat: Bring a Ziploc bag and ask a flight attendant for some ice or stow a cold pack in your carry on. Place between your lower back and your seat for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation caused by lower back pain. A heatable self-massage ball such as Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Kit can provide post-travel relief.
  • Move Around: Change positions occasionally when seated to help avoid leg cramps and improve circulation. Massaging your legs and calves and doing shoulder rolls will also help.  Consult your doctor for a few safe and easy hip and hamstring stretches you can do while traveling. During long flights and if possible, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow and help prevent blood clots.
  • Get aisle seat: An aisle seat allows you to easily get into and out of your seat. This makes it easier for you to move about the cabin.
  • Sit with support: Airline seats are often worn out with poor lumbar support. Place a small rolled-up blanket or use an inflatable back cushion, like a Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find proper lumbar support during flight. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will also provide proper support.
  • Drink water: Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as it helps cushion and lubricate joints and muscles.


Planning for Travel with Back Pain

We all need a vacation and those suffering from back pain may very well need it the most. Yet it’s all too easy to decide to stay at home when flare-ups and inconveniences keep you from having a good time. With a little planning, getting out of the home for a worthwhile break may be easier than you think. Here are some tips before you travel to help make your vacation as painless as possible.

  • Consult your doctor and get the okay to travel with your back condition.
  • Get the proper travel insurance to cover your needs, especially when going to a foreign country. Most provide great medical coverage and will provide peace of mind.
  • If flying by air, call the airline in advance and inform them of any special needs. They may be able to make certain accommodations such as providing wheelchair assistance and early boarding, having airline crew assist with luggage, arranging for special shuttles, etc. Also, try to book an exit window or aisle seat. This will give you more legroom to stretch and will make it easy to get in and out for walking breaks.
  • Research your destination to avoid any unwelcome surprises. For example, how much walking vs. driving will you have to do? Where is the nearest medical facility in case of emergency?
  • If staying at a hotel, call the hotel in advance to find out what type of mattresses are available to help make getting a good night’s rest much easier.

While the guidelines above will help you plan, our products will make getting to and around your destination more comfortable. Here are some products we recommend:

  • The Bucky Utopia Travel Pillow is our most affordable and compact travel pillow. It even comes with its own bag so you won’t lose it during your travels.
  • The LumbarCushion by Tempur-Pedic will provide much-needed support to your lower and mid back wherever you are seated. It’s also small enough to fit into your carry-on.
  • If you like to travel with your iPad, our foldable Cricket Notebook Stand will help ease your eyes and neck for comfortable viewing.

For more information, our previous posts on travel include more tips and product recommendations to help make your trip this vacation season more enjoyable.

Travel Products and Tips Your Back Will Love

During this season of heavy travel, many of us worry about the potential for back pain flair-ups and injuries.  Extended periods sitting in airplanes, cars, trains, sleeping in strange beds, or hauling around luggage are a few of the hazards that can ruin a vacation. Add to these risk factors the distance between where you are going and a trusted health care provider, and it can seem daunting.

Relax The Back travel products add a level of comfort and support that is virtually absent in cars, planes and other forms of public transportation. They are also a great addition wherever your journey takes you, from hotels to the homes of friends or relatives (who are sure to want to give them a try).

If you are wondering where to start, you may want to take a look at some of our most popular products :

  • The Self Inflating Backrest, the flagship of our travel line, is affordable, magnificently portable and works great in the car, on a plane or in any restaurant or home seating.
  • The Sacro-Ease is a durable seat support that can be customized the unique curve of your spine for maximum support.
  • Our U-shaped and other Travel pillows decrease the likelihood of cervical problems and travel insomnia.
  • The Theracane is a portable pressure point massager and one of our most popular products overall.

These and other travel products can be found on our website’s Travel section. In addition to any items you may bring along for comfort, remember these key travel tips:

  • Take frequent breaks from any sustained position. Stop the car or get up from the airplane seat every hour or two to walk around.
  • Stand up for at least one minute before attempting any lift after prolonged sitting, even if it is just to bend over for a bag under the seat.  This will actually cut the probability of injury to 1/10 of what it would be when lifting just after sitting.
  • Have porters or others do the heavy work if you have a history of back problems.

If you always think prevention, you can worry less and just relax (your back).

Back Friendly Travel

Taking a vacation is fun and exciting, but the fun and excitement can end before you ever get to your destination if you don’t take care of your back. Here are some tips to help you become a back friendly traveler.

Low Back and Neck Support
Long trips may cause upper and lower back pain but lumbar and cervical travel pillows can offer relief. Inflatable pillows are preferred for air travel because they can be adjusted easily in your seat and lay flat in your carry-on bag or luggage.

Luggage Weight
Do you know how much your luggage weighs? Most people buy luggage to fit their travel needs but rarely consider the weight of the bag. Check the weight of the bag before purchase. A pound or two less can make a big difference once the bag is packed.

Smaller Bags
Traveling light is easier when your bag is small. Consider taking 2-3 small bags instead of one large bag on your trip. Also, consider using a backpack as your carry-on. Backpacks distribute weight equally to both shoulders to reduce back pain.

Luggage Wheels and Handles
Luggage with smaller wheels can easily tip over causing shoulder, elbow, wrist, and low back pain. When purchasing wheeled luggage opt for the bigger wheels to improve the balance between you and your bag.

Wheeled luggage is the best way to travel but the handles are often too short. Consider purchasing a luggage handle extender to prevent twisting your low back and neck, over-rotating your shoulder and hyper-extending your elbow.


About the Author
Christine E. Wright, Ph.D., LOTR, has been an adult rehabilitation Occupational Therapist for 17 years and an academic educator for 11 years.
Contact Information:
Christine Wright, Ph.D., LOTR
School of Allied Health Professions
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Shreveport
Shreveport, LA 71130

Avoid Airline Fees – Bring Your Own Travel Pillow

Wrap Around Neck Pillow from Relax The Back
Save money on airline travel by bringing your own pillow.

Airlines love to charge. Love it. Headphones, snacks, wifi service – even your luggage. Last year, airlines collected $7.8 billion in fees. It is any wonder consumers are getting fed up?

One way you can cut down on these nickel-and-dime charges is to bring your own travel pillow. It makes no sense to pay $6 for a pillow when you can bring your own. Besides the price, the pillows the airlines hand out are ill-suited for comfort on a long flight and wear out easily.

Relax The Back, however, offers a variety of pillows designed to support your neck and back and help you fall asleep on long flights.

The Wrap Around Neck Pillow curls around your neck and provides a gentle cheek cushion, while aligning your chin and neck. It also releases a pleasing lavender aroma to help you relax. The Wrap Around is designed to create a “spa-like” experience, and over the course of an 11-hour flight, it’s probably as close to a spa as you’ll get.

Tempur-Pedic makes an excellent travel pillow. Over the years, Tempur-Pedic has become almost a synonym for quality, and the famed mattress maker’s U-Shaped Travel Pillow is no exception. This pillow is designed for riding in a car, train, or plane with a great degree of comfort. It does a great job of surrounding and cradling your neck proper support. I recommend this one highly for frequent flyers or commuters traveling by train.

If you prefer to sleep on your side there is a pillow designed especially for that – the JetRest Memory Foam Pillow. This ergonomic pillow has an L-shape design that cradles your head so you can rest comfortably on one side. Although it provides support for one side, it doesn’t neglect your head and neck. Its rectangular body gives you a firm but flexible upright support to those areas. For frequent flyers (or anyone else who steps on a plane), it comes with a convenient carry bag as well.

These products may not make it “cheap” to fly, but they can reduce the final tally. They’re also much more comfortable than airline pillows, which are often… not. So, the next time you fly, I recommend you save a few bucks and fly with your own travel pillow. That way you can concentrate on relaxing and not pulling out your wallet or purse over and over and over….

Review: McCarty’s Sacroease Back Support

McCarty's Sacroease Back Support
Reduce tension on your back while driving with a Sacroease.

Calling all Lexus, Mercedes Benz and BMW owners – your luxury car may not be complete without a proper ergonomic back support.

I love my Lexus. On the days I get it washed and detailed, it’s like riding in a luxury hotel suite. As someone with a heavy daily commute, that’s a wonderful thing. Still, I have to admit, its seating is a little less than luxurious. I did some research and discovered that Mercedes Benz and BMW drivers often have the same complaint. It seems that luxury cars are well-known for high-performance engineering, but they leave a little to be desired in the ergonomic seating department.

After an informal poll, I found that a LOT of vehicles, luxury automobiles included, make it difficult to maintain good posture. Most seats, whether made with rich, Corinthian leather or not, encourage bad posture by not supporting the lower back and spine. This often results in drivers, like me, hunching over the steering wheel, their backs contorted into a “C” shape.

But, rather than gut my Lexus to put in all-new seating, which would have been way too expensive, I decided to try the Sacroease, from McCarty. The difference was immediate and profound. Instead of driving hunched over, the back support practically forced me to maintain a healthy posture. It helped me to sit in an ergonomically correct “S” curve when driving. It also provided support behind my back and under my hips.

According to back specialists, this kind of support takes the strain off your spinal discs, allowing fluid to flow in the spine. Occasionally, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable swelling in my lower back after long road trips. After using the Sacroease, however, I found that my back could “breathe” better and my muscles felt less tense. Since I’ve started using it, I’ve also experienced fewer pinched nerves, which in the past have affected my entire body.

But perhaps the biggest difference has been less road vibration. No matter how often I replace my car’s shock absorbers, gravel, potholes, bumps, dips and other road hazards make it rattle like a mini earthquake. With the Sacroease, though, I’ve noticed that a lot less. It seems that the road vibrations are absorbed by the rubber support, not my spine and hips.

I will say that one advantage the Sacroease has over other posture correction products is its customization. It’s not made one-size-fits-all like other wood or plastic travel supports. It’s made of a bendable metal that I went to my local Relax The Back to have fitted to my body’s unique contours. Relax The Back remains one of the few specialty retailers that provides this service, but you have to do it in-store.

One last reason I recommend trying the Sacroease is that it comes with a five-year warranty, the same as my Lexus. In that way, my vehicle, back support, and me are made for each other.