‘I’m a Chiropractor, and This Is Why You Should Be Wearing an Airplane Pillow at Your Desk’

Photo: Getty Images / Klaus Vedfelt
Airplane pillows can be beneficial for maintaining proper spinal alignment during long flights, according tobut it turns out that’s not the only place you can benefit from wearing these horseshoe-shaped accessories.

Sitting on an airplane is similar to being sedentary at our work desk, where a lack of movement and poor posture and ergonomics can increase the strain and pain in our necks and backs. That’s where So with airplane pillows helping maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce discomfort, it's time to take them off of the plane and into the office.

How do airplane pillows work?

I’m not a good sitter. One minute I’m sitting properly, the next I’m cross-legged, and the one after that I’m sitting on one leg. But regardless of whether you sit like me or as a respectable human, adding an airplane pillow while working at your desk may do wonders, according to chiropractor Donovan Smolich, DC.

Experts In This Article
  • Donovan Smolich, Dr. Donovan Smolich is a chiropractor and social media influencer at Full Function Clinic in Los Angeles, California.

“Wearing an airplane pillow at your desk can help support your neck and prevent straining or stiffness from prolonged sitting,” she says. “It can also encourage better posture, which can reduce the risk of developing neck and back pain.”

As someone with pains of all the above, I had to try it out. So I’ve been hooking my Slip travel pillow, which is made from silk and can be washed—because eww, germs—around my neck for the past week when I sit down at my desk. It took a little bit of time to get used to, but when I stopped thinking about it, at the end of the day, I could feel the difference.

“By maintaining proper spinal alignment, an airplane pillow can help prevent the onset of discomfort and promote a more comfortable and productive work environment,’ says Dr. Smolich. “Additionally, it can provide a sense of comfort and relaxation, which can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.”

How long should you wear an airplane pillow at your desk?

When it comes to wearing an airplane pillow while you work, the social media chiropractor recommends starting slow. “The duration for wearing the pillow at your desk varies depending on personal preference and comfort levels,” he says. “Don’t forget to take breaks and stretch regularly, even when you’re wearing it.”

And if you’re experiencing pain and the neck pillow just isn’t for you, Dr. Smolich suggests reconfiguring your work environment to be more supportive for your body. “Try adjusting your chair and computer screen to maintain proper posture, take frequent breaks to stretch and move around, do neck and shoulder stretches and exercises, use a standing desk or desk converter to switch between, and incorporate ergonomic desk accessories like footrests, wrist rests, or a lumbar support cushion,” he says. But most importantly, if you’re experiencing ongoing neck and back pain, speak to a qualified health professional like a chiropractor.

Bookmark this 13-minute neck and shoulder stretch routine for the next time you need break: 

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