Back pain from driving is not uncommon, but it is also not something you should ignore. It becomes increasingly painful when you are driving for long periods of time or you drive for a living. If you suffer from back pain, neck and shoulder pain, or discomfort when walking after long drives, it is essential to seek out proper treatment. A trusted chiropractor can offer tools to help improve your posture and reduce the pain.

What Causes Back Pain from Driving?

A variety of factors can cause this type of pain. This includes poor maintenance on the car, creating an uneven ride. The jarring movements of the car back and forth can cause a misalignment in the spinal column. Poor lumbar support can also create this. Supporting the lower portion of the back properly can minimize strain and pressure here.

Most commonly, driving for long periods of time places a significant amount of strain on the curve of the lumbar spine. This curve, which is a part of the natural shape of the spine, becomes straight. As it does, there is more pain and strain on the spinal column vertebrae and individual discs. This creates a limited amount of space between each disc. This discs work as a shock absorber for the movement of the spine. When they are not in alignment, they cannot do this. It can also create pain as a result of a pinched nerve.

How Can You Relieve Pain from Driving?

There are a few steps to consider to improve this type of pain. If you know you are going to be on the road for a while, consider these tips and advice.

#1: Adjust Your Seat and Steering Wheel

Having the proper visual is important. Adjusting your seat so you can easily see over the steering wheel and so it provides enough support for your lower back is critical. This can work to reduce some of the strain you experience from stretching or moving around to see better. When the seat is in its proper place, and there is proper pressure at the lower portion of your back, the pain is less. Use tools such as cruise control to take some of the strain off of your driving.

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#2: Take a Break

If you are driving for a long time, it is important to stop and give your back a break. For example, for every hour to hour and a half that you drive, take 20 minutes off the road. Pull over into a rest stop. Get out of the car and stretch. You will also want to ensure the car seat is in the proper position each time you get back on the road.

#3: Deal with Pain Right Away

If you begin to suffer from pain, don’t ignore this. Instead, alternate between using a heating pack and an ice pack on the area. If stretching does not alleviate the pain, you may want to use this method of heat and cold over a span of a few hours.

What Can You Do to Improve It Long Term?

Imagine the car ride. Your body is exposed to whole body vibrations. Over long distances, this lasts for hours. With each jarring movement, your joints, including the facet joint, can become slightly out of line. This becomes painful. And, if it continues long term, you run the risk of developing ongoing pain as well as misalignment of the spinal column. This can cause disc compression, nerve pain, and even loss of feeling in some areas. That’s bad news.

However, there is treatment available. Start with improving your overall driving habits. Then, work towards improving your overall posture. As with anything having to do with the spinal column, proper posture minimizes risks. From here, work closely with your chiropractic team.

Adjustments: Your chiropractor may offer adjustments to you. This can help realign the spinal column, reducing the pain.

Massage Therapy: This method can help minimize the pain you feel by sending oxygen and nutrients into the impacted area. This helps it heal faster.

Spinal Decompression: In some cases, especially for those who drive for a living, more advanced treatments to decompress the spine may help.

We Can Help You Overcome Back Pain from Driving

When you visit Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, our team of experienced chiropractors and pain management professionals will consult with you, create a complex treatment plan, and provide you with the support you need to alleviate your pain for good. We encourage you to come in for a consultation by calling 480-986-7246 for an appointment.