Don’t Let Back Pain Ruin Your Road Trip

While the idea of a road trip is exciting, many of us cringe at the thought of being at the wheel for hours at a time. The strain driving puts on the joints and spine can often distract us from the enjoyment of traveling. Rather than focusing on the beautiful views we pass or the intriguing conversation we could be enjoying with that special someone in the passenger seat, all we can think about is the nagging aches in our shoulders, lower back, and knees. How can you overcome the dread that comes with a long car ride? The following suggestions will help to alieve back pain in the car.

Start With Your Seat

Move your seat forward. When you are closer to the steering wheel, you are less likely to slouch your shoulders or strain to reach the pedals. Just be sure not to get too close. If you find that your knees are higher than your hips, you are far to close and need to take it back a notch or two.

Angle your chair. You need to make sure your seat is at the correct angle. It is recommended to angle your seat between 100 and 110 degrees. Too far one way or the other can aggravate your back.

Use lumbar support. You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive cushion for this. However, something as simple as a rolled-up towel or small pillow can do the trick just as well. Whatever you decide to use, place it at the small of the back at about belt level.

Other Helpful Tips

Adjust your steering wheel. If your car has arm rests, use them to your advantage. Rest your elbows on them and hold your steering wheel in the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position. 

Use cruise control whenever possible. Doing so will evenly distribute your weight.

Stop about every half hour to get out and stretch.

Use break times to apply heat and cold on your back.

Turn on your seat heater to increase circulation and relax tight muscles.

As the driver, you are more at risk for the aches and pains of sitting for prolonged hours. Unlike your fellow passengers, you can’t adjust your position frequently or take medications to keep the pain at bay. But don’t let pain flare-ups interfere with your vacation. If your back doesn’t want to cooperate on long road trips, try the above tips, and get relief today.

Josh Evans