Driving Can Be Bad For Your (Spine) Health

In the last few years, truck stops have been adding new additions―chiropractor offices. Now, along with catching a shower, some food, and maybe a haircut, truckers can get a spinal adjustment. It’s really no wonder why.  Anyone who has driven a long distance know’s that driving can be hard on the back. When you sit in a vehicle, movement is restricted and you can’t really move your legs or stretch your muscles until you pull over and get out.   Seats in vehicles are now made to be more ergonomic which helps but it’s not enough to prevent back pain. When you drive, your legs are not relaxed like the rest of your body may be. They are active in driving the car, both legs if you drive a stick but only on the right if you don’t.  When you lift both feet, you lose stability and the rest of your body has to compensate.  When you use only one leg as you do for an automatic, you’re only utilizing muscles on one side.  This asymmetry can cause back and leg pain.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 142,962,379 people commute to work and of that 85.8% use a vehicle instead of walking or using public transportation.  Not surprisingly, 8% of all adults experience some kind of chronic back pain.

What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do to ease the pain that don’t involve quitting your job and never driving again.

Adjust your seat.  Many cars come with seats that are adjustable in several ways and you should be able to find a position that is comfortable that doesn’t put pressure on the back of your knees and that gives you some back support.

Buy a new seat.   If you can’t adjust the seat to be comfortable for you, buy a seat cushion for added support. Look for one with good lumbar support for your lower back.

Carpool.  Sure, you’re still stuck in the car for your commute but when it’s not your turn to drive, you can relax and keep your feet flat on the floor of the car.

Use the headrest.  It may be your preference to drive with your head straight up without using the headrest but it’s designed to give your neck some much-needed support too.

Change your position often.  It can be difficult, especially in a smaller car but if you can move around a little and change your position it’ll take the pressure off certain areas of your back.

Exercise regularly.  It can be hard to squeeze it in, especially if you have a long commute every day but regular exercise that gives you a good core workout can keep the back pain away!

If you are experiencing back pain, no matter what the cause, North County Pain Relief can help. At North County Pain Relief, we offer a natural, drug-free approach to healing and put the health and wellbeing of all of our patients above all.  If you’re experiencing back pain or any other type of pain, call us today at (314)731-4201 and schedule an appointment.  The sooner you do, the sooner you can get relief from pain.  As always, we’ve got your back!