The summer road trip is an American tradition, but as summer rolls on and many families return from their vacations, they find that they have suffered back, neck, or jaw pain as a result of the trip.But if you’re getting ready to hit the road or if you’re at a rest stop trying to figure out why your back, neck, or jaw is bothering you, here are some tips to help you remain pain-free during your trip.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you’re not sleeping well, or if you’re sleeping in an awkward position, it can cause tension in your neck and back. Make sure you have all your preparations done in advance so you can get to bed early the night before you get on the road. Remember that hotel beds can be uncomfortable, and if you have problems, try to get rooms at chains whose beds tend to be better for your back. If you have room, consider packing your own pillow.Always travel with a sleep apnea treatment. If CPAP is too inconvenient, consider an oral appliance.

Stretch before Getting in the Car

We tend to think that we’re not exercising when we’re driving, but we are. Sitting in place, holding the wheel, and pushing the pedal is very specific exercise that can lead to tension and sore muscles. To avoid this, stretch before you get into the car.

Make Sure Your Seat Supports You

Having proper support for your spine will go a long way toward avoiding pain. Make sure your headrest is properly adjusted, and that your seat back supports your lumbar region. If you can’t get the seat to support you, talk to your doctor about good products that can help.

Take Frequent Breaks

This is hard work, remember, so to keep from straining yourself, remember to take frequent breaks. Stop at least every two hours to get out of the car and walk around. This will help prevent soreness and there are lots of great things to see in this beautiful country of ours–it’s a shame to drive past it all.


Sometimes driving conditions, time pressures, and the hurly-burly of kids in the backseat can cause stress on the road. If you find yourself tensing up or clenching your jaw, try to relax and focus on the positive aspects of your trip. This is supposed to be a vacation, after all!

Treat Pain as It Starts

Most types of back and neck pain are progressive. If you don’t stop them early, they will get worse and be harder to treat. Use an ice pack or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help cut down on soreness right away. But don’t ice for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, and don’t exceed recommended doses.

Talk to a TMJ Dentist

If you continue to suffer jaw pain, neck pain, or back pain when driving despite following these tips, TMJ may be to blame. TMJ treatment can reduce these pains that come as a result of your body being improperly aligned.To talk to a TMJ dentist in Denver, please call the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado at (303) 691-0267.