travel pain portland oregon chiropractor dr chris cooper

How to Lessen Travel Pain

Traveling can be rough. Long flights. Long drives. Jet lag. Stress. Here are some tips to lessen travel pain.

Even though the majority of travel is spent sitting, there are still forces exerted on your body. We all have to fight gravity. Sitting or standing. Sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on our bodies. We aren’t meant to sit for hours at a time. Especially in cramped airline seats, am I right?

How to lessen travel pain
(Chan Lowe) Source

Treat travel like an activity. You must prepare for it. Plan a warm up and a cool down period.

Before you travel

Get hydrated. One of the biggest causes for jet lag is dehydration. Increase your water intake at least a few hours before you take off. Airplane air becomes very dry as it is recirculated. This can dehydrate you surprisingly fast.

Eat a healthy meal. Often times travelers will rush to the airport and eat somewhere in the airport. This usually turns into a fast food meal or a heavy restaurant meal. This sort of pre-travel meal can set the stage for an uncomfortable flight.

healthy meal

During the flight

While on the flight, avoid drinking alcohol or soda. These drinks can dehydrate you even more. Instead, drink clear liquids or juices.

Move! Move, move, move. Sitting in a cramped seat causes unnecessary pressure in your neck, back, and legs. You can get up every hour and walk the aisle. This restores blood flow and performs a neurological reset on your muscles.

Try some of these other exercises and stretches during the flight.

These should help relieve travel pain.

exercises to reduce travel pain

We have just scratched the surface in regards to travel pain. There are so many more tips that could fill several blog posts. If you are interested in hearing more, please leave a comment below. If you would like to learn more from Dr. Cooper please call or email Cascade Chiropractic in Portland, OR. Dr. Chris Cooper is a chiropractor in Portland who specializes in helping people find better health through chiropractic, exercise, and nutrition.


  1. Avery Leinova Reply →

    I am traveling to Cambodia in November. My travel time is 22+ hours, including layovers in Seattle and Beijing. I’m interested in exercises that I can do to lessen the stress on my body. I am 60, somewhat sedentary, and I’ll need to hit the ground running. I know about hydration, nutrition and walking, , , just looking for more exercises than what you have listed. (the longest leg of my flight is 14 hours.)

    My chiropractor of 30+ years just retired, so I’m looking for a new practitioner. I see that you are within the Kaiser network; I know that I need a referral for treatment. However, referral is rare; I’d like to know your fee structure for new patient and subsequent visits. Thank you much.

    1. Dr. Chris Cooper Reply →

      Hi Avery! 22+ hours is a LOOONG time to be on the airplane. You’ve hit the big 3 when it comes to air travel: hydration, nutrition, and keep moving. A lot of people experience swelling in the hands or feet during flight. You can help this by squeezing the muscles of your arms and legs to help the blood and lymph drain. I am in the Kaiser network. Many times our Kaiser patients don’t need a referral for care. If you call our office (503) 257-1324 our office manager, Alex, can help you figure out insurance benefits or let you know other fees.

  2. Penelope Smith Reply →

    This is some really good information about traveling when you have pain. My father travels a lot for his job, and his back has been bothering him a lot lately. I liked your advice for him to walk the aisle during his flights. It might be smart for him to go see a chiropractor, and for it to get adjusted.

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