You may experience lower back pain when you are driving. You can reduce irritation and pain by adjusting your seat, using lumbar supports, and applying topical creams.
Driving can make chronic back pain worse. Driving for long periods of time can also cause back pain.
Sitting on a couch is better for your body than driving.
Your muscles stiffen when you are in the same position relative for a long time. You may also be concentrating on the road or the traffic around you. This can lead to muscle tension. You also lack the lumbar-supporting pillows and cushions that you would normally get.
It is possible to reduce your back pain while driving. You can avoid discomfort by making small adjustments and using tools.
Driving for long periods can cause your back to become achy. Sitting positions put pressure on the back muscles and ligaments. The pressure from a poor driving posture or slouch can worsen pain.
Driving can be mentally exhausting, and cause stress. This can lead to tension in the shoulders and neck, causing pain and ache.
Use these tips for a stress-free driving experience, whether you’re a long distance trucker, weekend road warrior or commuter.
You can use lumbar support pillows or cushions to relieve back pain when driving.
Lumbar support cushions support your lower back or lumbar area. This relieves some pressure from your spine. Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis can cause pain and stiffness, especially among older adults, in the lumbar area.
The lumbar support cushion fills the space between the lower back and the seat. This will help you maintain a good driving posture. Lumbar support cushions can also reduce lower back pain and alleviate pain that radiates down the legs.
If you don’t have any lumbar support cushions with you, roll up a towel to place against your lower back.
You can find the best angle for your back by experimenting with the position of your seat. You can adjust the tilt by moving the seat up and down and moving it forward and backward.
Position your seat so that your spine is straight. Even if you lean back slightly, your spine can remain straight. Sit with weight evenly distributed on both sides. Your thighs should rest flush against the seat. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.
Try to keep your elbows slightly bent. You don’t need to sit too far back to overextend your arms in order to reach the steering. You don’t want to have your seat too high as this can cause you to slump over or be hunched while driving. This can cause your neck to be twisted at an uncomfortable angle.
Seat adjustment can be affected by the size of your vehicle. Compact cars that are not big enough to accommodate your height might have too little headroom. This makes it difficult to sit up straight. Avoid small vehicles for long trips if you are tall.
By adjusting the height of the steering wheel, you can relieve pressure on your neck and spine.
Your arms should not be stretched forward when you pull your steering wheel towards you. This will reduce the strain on the muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
Try holding the steering wheel in the 9:00 a.m. or 3:00 pm positions on long trips instead of the 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. This position is preferred by many drivers, especially those who can rest their elbows and arms comfortably on the armrests.
Adjust your side and rear-view mirrors as well to avoid neck strain.
Heat can reduce pain by relaxing tight blood vessels. Heated car seats can help to loosen up tight muscles, reduce muscle cramps, and relax stiff joints by increasing blood flow.
Some heated car seats come with a massage function, which can provide soothing relief as well as reduce back pain.
If your car does not have heated seats, you can purchase a heated seat cover that you can install manually.
Flip-flops and high heels can not only make it difficult to drive safely, but they may also cause lower back pain. High heels and poorly fitting shoes can change your posture, affecting your pre-set adjustments.
Sneakers or other shoes with traction are the safest shoes for driving. Running sneakers or other shoes with cushioning can help absorb the vibrations from the pedals.
Topical pain relief can temporarily relieve back pain when driving. Back pain salves are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. They can provide a numbing, warming, cooling, or a combination.
Keep a roll-on salve that is easy to apply in your center console. This will ensure you have something on hand if the pain becomes too severe.
Some OTC creams contain ingredients such as cannabidiol, capsaicin and arnica. These may reduce swelling, muscle pain and stiffness. Some CBD creams include menthol to provide cooling relief. Some CBD creams may contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Talk to your doctor about a gel with diclofenac, which is available under prescription. Voltaren and other brands are examples.
You may prefer a pain-relieving patch that works for a longer period of time to a cream or salve. A patch applied to your back will provide longer lasting relief.
Heat patches can be used to relieve back pain, just like a mobile heating pad. They contain substances such as iron powder which activates when exposed to the air. They may also provide a more penetrating heat to ease tight muscles and expand blood vessels.
Lidocaine patches are also available for lower back pain. Lidocaine helps to numb pain so you don’t experience it as much. These are especially helpful for neurological pain like sciatica.
You can purchase heat patches at drugstores or at rest stops along major highways. You can buy OTC patches of lidocaine at a pharmacy or speak to a doctor for prescription strength options.
The patches can provide pain relief for many hours, making them useful on long drives.
Cruise control is not an option at rush hour, on slippery, winding or unsafe roads. If you can do it safely, using cruise may reduce back pain because you can change your leg position.
Put both feet flat on the floor, with knees bent. Rest your weight evenly on both of your feet. This will relieve pressure on your back.
Take frequent breaks while driving. Moving, stretching and walking reduces tension and stiffness, which can reduce back pain. Try yoga or stretches in a grassy place to relieve back pain.
Sitting for prolonged periods can cause swelling in the lower extremities. Walking can reduce fluid accumulation in the legs, feet, or ankles if you have edema. This fluid buildup may contribute to back pain.
Slouched shoulders, rounded backs and a rounded neck can cause constriction of blood vessels and nerve ends in the back and neck. This can lead to or worsen stiffness in the joints and cause muscle pain.
You may experience muscle spasms or stiffness if you remain in the same position for too long. Try to adjust your posture slightly in order to alternate pressure areas on your back. If possible, you can also alternate driving with a passenger.
Lifting heavy objects like suitcases, boxes, or crates can cause back strain. It can also tear the muscles, causing severe pain and injury.
Lifting properly is important if you have to lift heavy objects for your job or the weight of your suitcase. Lifting heavy objects is best done by squatting down and lifting with your legs instead of your back.
It can be difficult to stay hydrated while driving. It’s essential for your overall health and to reduce the risk of back spasms, leg cramps, and painful muscle pain.
Pack bottled water with low sugar or electrolyte drinks to avoid this. You can also stock up on fluids at rest stops.
Back pain is a common complaint. You can avoid back pain by taking simple steps when planning your trip. Take breaks while driving, use pain-relieving creams and stay hydrated. Stretching can be beneficial before, during and after a trip.
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