- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
How To Keep Your Back Pain-Free While Driving
By Dr. Heath Gallentine, DC
Driving for a prolonged period of time can be very cumbersome. Not only are you stuck in a solitary position for hours on end, you can also experience back pain while driving or after you get out of the car. Without realizing it, driving is an activity that causes you to hold a lot of strain to the back and neck muscles, because you are having to sit in an alert position for an extended period of time. If you are someone who does a lot of driving, then it pays to learn something about how to take care of your back when driving. Preventing back pain while driving is something that is invaluable. Here are some tips on how to keep your back pain-free while driving.
It is important to maintain good posture while driving to prevent injuries to your back and neck. You must try to prevent a slumped driving posture that is characterized by a rounded back, rounded shoulders and forward head posture. Being in this posture increases the stress on the back and neck. This unnatural position can also cause muscle spasms and tightness, which cann also cause pain. Thus, it is important that before you hit the road, you need to be prepared for the trip. Here's how to do it.
Before you hit the road, do some simple stretching exercises, especially on your back area. Also, make sure that the car seat is angled in a position that gives you the most comfort and support. Use a rolled towel, pillow or a lumbar support behind the lower back when driving. Also, adjust the neck support on your seat so that you can rest your head back if necessary. It is important to get out of the car and stretch after every 30 or 60 minutes of driving. The purpose of this is to help you loosen those stiff muscles due to having a solitary position for a long time. You can walk around the vehicle or take a short walk. You can also stretch your legs by holding each leg and bring the knee to your hips. During these breaks, stretch your muscles as much as you can to prevent them from getting too stiff.
You also need to take note of your driving style. By doing do, you can learn how to adjust your car seat to reduce the RDIs. If you notice that you do not move your lumbar area at all while driving, now is the time to shift your body while driving. What you can do is to shift your self on the seat to change your posture. By doing so, you are also moving your lumbar area which helps to alleviating the pressure from your low back. You can also do simple breathing exercises that allow your upper body muscles to relax.
If you are driving on a very long trip, it is important to share the driving responsibility with someone else. Sitting for long periods of time, holding your body alert and focused is difficult for many people. Therefore, it pays to have someone take over the job once in a while so that you can relax your tired back muscles.
Many people that drive a lot suffer from Repetitive Driving Injuries (RDI) such as foot cramps, lumbar or lower back pain, stiff neck, side ache, headaches and eye strain. Also, people who drive for longer periods of time can get the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), dehydration, swelling of the legs, stress and fatigue in the muscles. Often one foot is more active than the other as you accelerate etc and one hip can be pushed into an unnaturally higher position for long periods of time, causing pain.
Because so much of our time is spent in the car, it is important that you try to prevent injury to your back and neck. Doing these simple things can help prevent you from needing to seek treatment for this pain.
Call us today to take the first step to your recovery!
Lexington Family Chiropractic
131 Prosperous Pl #15
Lexington, KY 40509