How to Prevent Back Pain While Driving

‚ÄčIf you were given the choice of anywhere in the world to live, Redondo Beach would be hard to pass up. But when it comes to driving, traffic can be a pain, especially if you have neck, back, and lower back pain. Here are some tips to help you prevent and alleviate back pain from driving in Redondo Beach and the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Plan ahead to prevent back pain while driving

To prevent back and neck pain while driving, take time before you even start your vehicle to make sure you're comfortable. Being comfortable will help prevent pain from starting in the first place.

Before you start your car:

  • Check your pockets: If you carry your cell phone, wallet, billfold, or anything else in your back pocket, remove these items. They can shift your spine out of alignment and cause lower back pain while driving. 
  • Check your reach: You shouldn't have to reach for the steering wheel. This increases stress on the lower spine, shoulder, neck, and wrists, causing neck pain while driving, as well as shoulder stiffness and lower back pain. Sit as close to the wheel as you can without compromising your risk of injury from airbag deployment. 
  • Check your seat: Is your seat cushion worn down? Your hips should be slightly lower than your knees, but you should not be sitting in a hole. If you need to add a little padding to a worn seat cushion, fold a towel to sit on or use a small pillow. 
  • Support your lower back: To prevent back pain while driving, the curve of your lower spine needs support. Some cars have lumbar supports that are adjustable, but you may need to add extra support for the small of your back. A partially used roll of paper towels is great for this. Tuck it in behind your back so your lower spine is aligned against your car seat to prevent low back pain from driving. 

Prevent back spasms while driving

Your spine and back were designed for movement. So activities like sitting in a car for long periods can cause muscles to tighten and spasm.

You can avoid back and neck pain while driving by: 

  • Scheduling stops: Take frequent breaks when driving or riding in a car. If you're driving long distances, get out of the car to stretch and walk around. Moving around increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and back and it's been proven that exercise helps to relieve lower back pain. 
  • Stretching and exercise: Simple stretches and exercises can relieve neck and back pain. If you're experiencing pain and feel a spasm coming on, get out of the car to move around, perhaps engaging in some gentle stretching of your neck, back, and legs. 
  • Drinking water: Your body relies on water to circulate healing nutrients and oxygen. Stay adequately hydrated to help prevent pain from prolonged standing or sitting. 
  • Safely re position: If you can't make frequent stops, safely make changes in how you're sitting. Adjust your seat. Do a few ankle pumps to stretch your hamstrings, but only when it is safe to do so. Even small adjustments in how you're sitting can help prevent stiffness and back pain from driving. 

Chiropractic relief for back pain from driving

Most back pain is caused by inflammation and stiffness. Walking around to increase movement and flexibility can often ease back pain from driving but regular chiropractic treatment can help to prevent back pain from starting in the first place. Conditions like pregnancy and sciatica often causes back pain while driving so make sure to talk to your chiropractor if you are pregnant or suffer from sciatic or hip pain and are planning on taking any long drives. Chiropractic care provides natural relief for many kinds of back and neck disorders, including sciatica and back and neck pain from driving.

Another option is a cold or ice pack which works to decrease inflammation and back pain while driving. Many people keep a small cooler in the car to carry reusable ice packs for long trips. If cold doesn't help the pain, long-lasting heat pads might provide some relief and ease spasms.

Traffic is inevitable, especially in the Redondo Beach area but back pain doesn't have to happen. If you're experiencing back pain while driving, find out if chiropractic treatment is right for you by calling (310) 378-7246 or scheduling a consult.