Driving with Upper Back Pain
Driving and back pain are not the greatest of combinations. Not only do drivers feel miserable from persistent upper back pain, but the very act of sitting in a single position for hours places added strain on the vertebrae and discs as well as on the cervical spine (neck) as a result of the seat being leaned back and the driver needing to flex the neck in order to look directly ahead. All these can cause or exacerbate upper back pain. If driving for prolonged periods is inevitable, it is vital to be aware of what helps ease back pain and what makes it worse.
The Mayo Clinic ranks back pain as second only to headaches as the most common cause of pain, with costs ranging from $20 billion to $50 billion a year in the United States. Research indicates that the majority of the population will go through some form of back pain during their lifetime. Common among the middle aged group, chronic back pain affects older people while brief, acute back pain episodes are frequent occurrences in younger people.
Driving is a constant aggravator of back pain and sometimes, it is the primary cause of pain. Therefore, it is critical to learn the ways to support the back while driving and avoid back pain. Here are some ways to make driving significantly safer from injury and pain.
- Do not grip the wheel too tightly to avoid tensing the neck and shoulders.
- Check that the driver’s car seat supports the thighs as much as possible. The knees should be slightly above hip level.
- Avoid sitting far away from the pedals to avoid adding strain on the upper back and neck. The head rest should be just behind the back of the head.
- Have the steering wheel adjusted so that it can be reached with bent arms in a 10 to 2 posture.
- If a lumbar support feature is present, modify it so that it is pushed gently on the lower back at belt height. Lumbar support is critical. If the car does not have the feature, make sure to buy an in-car type. Another lumbar support option is a pillow or rolled-up towel in the small of the back.
- Automatic cars do not cause as much strain on the back. Manuals, on the other hand, required continued use of the clutch, placing unnecessary pressure on the lumbar discs.
- On longer trips, do these every10 minutes: stretch in the seat, arch the back, and squeeze the legs and the buttock. Stop driving every few hours and walk around for a few moments.
- After long hours of driving, do not bend or stretch since the back is considerably weaker at this time.
- Check if the shock absorbers of the car are functioning well. This is important because the vibrations of a moving vehicle cause stress and tension to the spine.
- If upper back pain occurs, massage a natural pain cream such as MAXX Relief All Natural Pain Relief Cream on the sore area in order to provide quick relief from pain and keep it off for several hours.
As driving with back pain can be sometimes unavoidable, it is best to understand what can be done in order to ease the pain caused by an injured back. And, it is also vital to have good health because personal wellness has an important role in reducing problems in the first place.