Sure, road trips can be fun, but lets admit it – that they can also be filled with unpleasant factors like screaming kids, constant bathroom breaks, and back pain. Back pain in the car is very common amongst both passengers and drivers, and can be triggered by something as simple as the position of your buttocks or legs.
It is common knowledge that sitting for long periods of time is very painful for people who suffer from back pain. Therefore, riding for long periods of time is not an easy and pain-free feat. Know your limits when riding, and know when it’s time for a break . Otherwise, use the below tips and techniques from everydayhealth.com to help manage your back pain while driving.
8 Ways to Handle Back Pain on the Road
- Use lumbar support. It can be something simple, like a rolled-up towel or a cushion specially designed for support. Just be sure it’s properly placed, at about belt level.
- Move your seat forward. It helps to get as close to the steering wheel as you can without becoming uncomfortable. Being this close prevents you from slouching, and also keeps you from straining to reach the pedals.
- Angle your seat. The back of your seat should be adjusted to an angle of about 100 to 110 degrees to allow you to sit properly.
- Go cruising. If your car has cruise control, use it — if it’s safe to do so. This allows you to put both feet on the floor for short periods and distribute your weight more evenly.
- Stretch it out. Stop as often as you can, preferably every half hour or so, to get out of the car and stretch.
- Ice it down. If you still have back pain while driving, stop for a stretch and put an ice pack against your back when you’re sitting. There are disposable/portable ice and heat packs available for purchase, so if you have a few on hand, you can alternate heat and cold every 20 minutes or so.
- Adjust your steering stance. Researchers have looked into the best way to position yourself at the steering wheel if you have back pain. It used to be that new drivers were taught to hold their steering wheel at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. But, with the advent of airbags, research has found that your hands should be at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. This allows you to rest your elbows on the armrests, which can help ease pain, especially in the upper back.
- Heat your seat. If your car doesn’t have heated seats, many stores sell heated seat covers that can be placed on the driver’s seat.
In the end, whether you are a road warrior for work, or getting your kicks on Route 66, these tips can help you better manage your back pain while driving.