There are varying degrees of back pain depending on the frequency and intensively with which the back moves. This pain is a result of having inflamed muscles, but the damaged area is not actually the muscle but in the spine. Next, to the common cold, back pain is said to be the most common reason for absence at work.
According to Bottomline, Inc., only 10% of the 30 million Americans that suffer from low back pain are recommended and required for surgical treatment. The cases that receive surgical treatment include having a slipped disk or pinched nerves.
Back pain is usually caused by hereditary illnesses, weight issues, smoking, aging, other diseases (scoliosis, arthritis, spinal stenosis, kidney stone, infections, etc.) and lack of exercise. These causes have its part of the back that has a problem which may be a disk breakdown, spasms, tense muscles, or ruptured disks.
A thesis study at the University of Southampton Institutional Repository entitled “Low Back pain and risk factors for low back pain in car drivers” have stated several factors that cause back pain for drivers. It revealed that back pain occurs to 45% of taxi drivers, 53% of police drivers and 46% of civilians for at least one day in the past 12 months. Factors associated with this are prolonged sitting posture and exposure to whole-body vibration. This vibration damages the disks on your back by pushing it towards your vertebrae.
How to cope with back pain while driving?
With this set of data, seven ways are provided to help you cope with back pain while driving to make your trip a lot easier and more comfortable.
Have a smooth ride
Although external issues can negate this tip, make sure that all internal issues are properly addressed. Use a vehicle that is optimized to long drives.
- Limit the bounce of the car by replacing worn shocks.
- Have your tires checked and have zero lumps that would make a journey more uncomfortable.
- Use lumbar support or a rolled-up towel to cushion your back for better form while driving.
- Adjust your mirrors to your preference.
- Have your seat adjusted to your comfort in reaching towards the steering wheel. Incline it to an angle of about 100 to 110 degrees. It is recommended by Douglas Krebs, D.C., a chiropractic orthopedist, also to adjust the seat bottom to 5 degrees upward. A 130-degree positioning to the seat will allow you to see the road while being comfortable as your neck meets the padding.
- Have your feet placed firmly on the floor when not in use to stabilize your lower body.
- Keep away unnecessary things in your back pocket while driving as it can misalign your spine.
Don’t forget to stretch
It is advised to get out of the car if it is driven for 30 minutes and stretch since the spine’s main function is moving, sitting for a long time would stiffen your back muscles. The suggested movement will bring nutrients and oxygen to your back by stimulating blood circulation. Try to move slightly, even just for a short time while on the ride.
Grip your stirring wheel correctly
Sit in a manner that is comfortable and does not reach out for the wheel that would definitely strain your back. Has the wheel centered? To allow your elbows to rest, researchers have found and proven that the best way to grip your steering wheel would be the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, which is far from the most used position of 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. This is a way to ease the pain in your upper back. Remember to have both of your hands on it.
Ice it down or warm it up
Depending on the season and your preference, have an ice pack for your back that would help to relieve back pain by reducing the inflammation of muscles and making the area go numb. Make sure to use a towel, and not have it directly on your skin to avoid ice burn.
Though many people have proven that heating packs are also an effective way of alleviating the pain. Several kinds of heating pads are available in the market like the one that can be warmed up by plugging it into cigarette lighter or power source using a power converter, or a reusable one that is microwavable and use it as a lumbar support, or apply heat wraps directly to your skin that can last for 6 hours. Some cars also have a feature of having heated seats used for keeping your muscles warm.
Laugh it off and don’t stress too much
Don’t mind the traffic. Don’t mind the phone calls. Don’t mind the deadlines. Avoid frequent checking of the time. There is another time for that. This may be a lot easier said than done, but, thinking about the problems in mind and the external issues that you don’t have any control about will only add pain to your system.
Turn the radio on and jump to your jam. Call a friend hands-free and talk about anything. Do not focus on pain and stress. There’s more to the day besides the traffic that you are encountering.
Do not only aid it within the premises of the car
- A habit of exercising regularly helps pain reduction. Keep your body healthy. Examples of exercises that can help to mend your back are partial crunches; hamstring stretches, wall sits, press-up back extensions, knee to chest, or lifting weights though these exercises may need supervision or medical suggestion to know which exercises you have to avoid and which is effective the most.
- Have enough sleep and rest. This is the time that the body recovers from fatigue. Make sure that you give your body the ability to do so as it can improve your body’s condition.
- Drink enough water to help nutrients and oxygen to circulate.
- Avoid lifting things that are beyond your capability.
- Help your body strengthen its core area as it cannot do it by itself.
Relax. Rest. Stretch. Exercise. Take care of the body that lets you go anywhere. Understand it and keep it away from pain as much as possible by following the tips above. To experience back pain relief while driving, know the causes of muscle pains, have some adjustments, and cure it eventually. Avoid making the pain worse by addressing it quickly. With driving, the proper approach should have back pain go away in no time.
With these seven ways for you, try them all. Several check-ups and treatments are available in the market today, which covers massages and acupuncture treatment. Curing the pain would tell by 3 to 6 weeks. However, if the steps do not work or you notice and experience frequent numbness, pain that won’t go away, pain that affects urine movement, fever, severe weight loss, you feel that your body weakens, or you think that the pain that you are experiencing is not simply caused by driving, then it would be better to see a health professional, be examined through X-ray machines and other medical testings, and hear his/her findings and recommendations.