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How to Alleviate Back Pain While Driving

Man with lots of back pain after a long drive in car

How to Alleviate Back Pain While Driving

Back pain is a common medical problem that affects millions of people globally. Many drivers complain of back issues, especially truck drivers, as they are expected to drive for several hours on end.

Blood flow is impeded when a person remains in a sedentary or stationary position for an extended period of time. Poor posture can cause the spine to become badly aligned over time as well, which may exacerbate existing back problems.

Here, our focus will be on back pain and the steps that you can take in order to alleviate your pain while driving.

Why does my back hurt when I’m driving?

Poor posture is a common cause of back pain in drivers. Driving for an extended period without taking breaks to stretch and walk around can also cause back pain in some drivers.

As well, some people are born with spinal deformities that may become more pronounced as they age.

A hard seat as well as bad cushioning and a lack of padding can also cause back pain or discomfort while driving. Being in motion will subject your body to various states of acceleration and deceleration.

Your body will be exposed to vibrational forces and other forms of friction and traction from top to bottom. Whole-body vibrations, which are common as your body sways from side to side, will have an impact on your spine.

It is also possible for your vertebral bone to lose some of its ability to support the weight that is above it due to age and other factors. For example, osteoporosis may lead to compression fractures. A loss of vertebral height can cause postural changes that can trigger spasms and back pain.

Tips to Alleviate Back Pain While Driving

Try to get into a comfortable position while driving, making the necessary adjustments to ensure maximum comfort. Driving in a pronounced and rigid state will inevitably lead to back discomfort and pain.

It is important to shift your driving position frequently, and to also make your trip as smooth as possible. If there is another person in the car with you, then you should ask them to take the wheel to help reduce your workload after some time has passed.

If you are driving solo, then you should take breaks every 30 minutes in order to get out of the car, get some fresh air, and stretch your legs. Additional lumbar support should also be strongly considered to reduce the risk of back pain while driving.

Take the time to adjust your steering wheel grip, and try to sit a comfortable distance away from the wheel as well. Your back should be aligned against the back of the driver’s seat, and your back pockets should be kept empty as well. If you sit on your phone, wallet, or car keys while driving, then your spine may be thrown out of alignment.

What are the different ways to recover from back pain?

You should always maintain good posture while you are sleeping or driving. Regular exercise will help optimize your spinal alignment, while also strengthening your muscles and increasing joint flexibility.

There are many physiotherapy procedures that you can look into or practice in order to boost your range of motion and maximize your lumbar support.

Physical therapy is often suggested to patients who have recently been in an accident or those who have had surgery, but it can also be greatly beneficial to those who suffer from back pain. For example, your physiotherapist may teach you specialized exercises that will focus on stretching the core muscles that support your back.

Applying heat and ice can help provide you with some temporary back pain relief. Begin by using ice in order to reduce inflammation and pain. After a few days, you should apply a warm pack or a heating pad in order to increase blood flow and relax your tired muscles.

Some patients may benefit from nerve stimulation procedures, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in order to block incoming pain signals.

It is also important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid foods that are high in sodium, sugar, and trans fats. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables while reducing the amount of red meat and dairy in your diet in order to maintain a healthy weight that will not place any undue pressure on your spine.

Back to Basics

Back pain is very common among those who drive for extended periods of time. Lumbar support and maintaining good posture will help alleviate your back pain.

Physiotherapy can also help alleviate back pain via ultrasound, TENS units, hot and cold therapy, aerobic conditioning, and muscle-strengthening exercises and modalities.


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