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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Back Pain Relief Tips For Long Trips In Your Car

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 03:43 PM

Back pain while drivingAs the holiday season approaches many of us plan on spending a lot of time in the car traveling to see our loved ones. Prolonged hours in the car can leave you tired, stiff, stressed, and very sore. Your car maybe comfortable but certain pressures and forces from an awkward position can cause the blood flow to be restricted. Don’t let back pain from a long drive ruin your holidays. Be prepared this year!

What can you do to avoid back pain while driving?

  • Sitting Correctly! For proper lower back support adjust your car seat (or place a rolled towel or pillow behind your back) and raise your legs slightly. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips Face forward.
    • Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee and if you can’t slide your fingers in and out of the space you need to re-adjust your seat.
  • Adjust your headrest! The ACA estimates that more than 75% of drivers have their headrest at an inappropriate height. The middle of the headrest should meet the back of your head.
    • If your neck is really bothering you purchase a headrest neck pillow. This will give your neck the support it needs and it can help you avoid future headaches. 
    • Avoid Neck Pain While Driving
  • Bring back support for your lower back. Using a supporter like a rolled up towel or pillow may reduce the risk on lower back strain.
    • The widest part of the supporter should rest between the bottom of the rib cage and your waistline.
  • Stretch your neck! When at a stoplight or rest stops do some neck exercises to get the blood flowing.
  • Move your legs while driving to stop discomfort or fatigue.
    • Open your toes, tighten your thigh, calf and gluteal muscles and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Do NOT grip the steering wheel. Keep a looser grip to improve your circulation and decrease muscle weakness in arms, hands and wrists.
  • Keep your arms slightly flexed and in a comfortable position. Periodically switching.
  • Takes breaks and get out of the car and stretch!
  • Wear your seat belt!

When you are getting out of your car take your time. When your back you sitting in a car for 20 minutes or longer fluids sneak into the disc causing it to enlarge the disc making it even more vulnerable. So instead of jumping right out of your car take a moment to do some gentle stretches to reduce the fluid build up.

Safe travels everyone!

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