If you are one of the many who require treatment and exercises for lower back pain, you may find yourself dreading long road trips. Hours spent sitting upright can be extremely painful, and cannot always be avoided, particularly if your work involves driving.
Try these 11 tips and tricks to help reduce your discomfort.
1. Adjust your seat angle
An awkward seat angle can create significant back problems over a long drive, as even a small amount of discomfort can increase quickly. The ideal seat angle may be around 100 to 110 degrees, particularly for those experiencing pain in their lower back muscles.
2. Move your seat forward
If your seat is too far back, your arms will have to stretch as you reach forward for the steering wheel. This can cause pain in your back or exacerbate the pain that is already there. Move your seat until you can grip the wheel comfortably.
3. Add lumbar support
Lumbar support could make a big difference to your back during a long drive. It can provide a cushion for the small of your back to rest on, relieving the pressure on your spine. It can also help you maintain good posture throughout the journey.
4. Use heat and cold
Some back pain and sciatica treatment recommendations include hot or cold compresses. If you use either of these, incorporate them into your trip. For a cold treatment, you could purchase ice packs and keep them in a travel cooler. For heat treatment, you could bring a heat wrap, or use your car’s heated seat function.
5. Adjust your mirrors
You should not have to stretch to use your mirrors. Even a slight twist or strain to view them is a problem, as you will be performing this action over and over again as you drive. Adjust the mirrors so you can see them just by turning your head levelly, and not looking up or down.
6. Use cruise control
If your car has cruise control, use it whenever possible, as it allows you to relax slightly. You can also rest your feet levelly on the floor, taking strain off your back and supporting your posture.
7. Empty your pockets
A cell phone, wallet, or any other item in your pocket can cause back problems. Even if you do not notice or feel the item, your spine will automatically adjust if you sit on it. This misaligns your spine throughout the entire journey.
8. Maintain good posture
Keeping good posture is vital to preventing a painful back. This means your legs, hips, and spine should be aligned as you sit. It is tempting to slouch when driving for a long time, so make sure to check in with your posture periodically. Pay attention to any areas of discomfort and see what you can do to adjust.
9. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can make muscle pain worse. Drink water throughout the trip, particularly if you are driving in hot weather. If driving in the cold, try a hydrating and warming tea.
10. Stop and stretch
Plan time to stop throughout the journey. Stopping allows you to check whether any part of your back is in pain. You can also take this time to perform some stretches or exercises.
Determine which stretches are suited to your needs beforehand and seek out advice if you are unsure. For example, lower back pain exercises may be unsuitable for those with upper back or shoulder pain.
11. Perform car maintenance
If your car jolts too much as your drive, it can make back pain worse. To avoid this, check whether your car needs any work before the journey is due to take place. Pay attention to worn out wheels or shock absorbers, as these will affect the smoothness of the drive.
If you experience any back discomfort when driving, please contact Michigan Chiropractic Specialists for a consultation.