Whether you are the car driver or a passenger, if you suffer from back pain, you will know that it can begin or get worse during a long car journey. For those whose jobs involve travelling, long spells behind the wheel are inescapable. For others, those longer journeys may be much less frequent and part of something more enjoyable, like a holiday or travelling to a family reunion. In either case, getting to your destination with back pain, or having it come on after your arrival can ruin everything.
Winchester Chiropractor, Max Atkinson, has some helpful tips if back pain is a problem for you during or after a long car journey. Remember though, that a little forethought and getting a Chiropractic ‘maintenance check’ before a planned journey can spot those little problems with pain or posture that can turn into big problems if not taken care of! Arrange an appointment at Bradford House Chiropractic, call us today on 01962 861188.
For the driver in particular, long journeys can be a problem as using the foot pedals to control the car means that they cannot be placed flat on the floor where they would normally help to stabilise the lower back. Here are some of Max’s top tips for preventing back pain on long car journeys for drivers and passengers:
1. Adjust your seat and headrest so that it is comfortable for you.
- If necessary, use a lumbar support pillow and/or a wedge seat cushion to ensure your posture while seated in the car is as good as you can make it.
- Ideally, you should be sitting with your buttocks as close as possible to the back of the seat and the length of your thighs, to within a couple of inches of your knees should be in contact with the seat.
- If you are the driver, adjust the seat forwards or back so that your legs have a slight bend when you depress a foot pedal.
- Sit with your shoulders against the backrest. If you are the driver, you may need to alter the angle of the backrest so that your shoulders still rest on the backrest when turning the wheel.
- Ensure that the top of your headrest aligns with the top of your head and adjust it to a comfortable angle.
2. If you suffer from a ‘bad back’, you probably already know your limits and just how long you can drive or travel as a passenger on a long car journey before back pain and stiffness begins. Take regular breaks so that you can have a walk around. Do some simple stretching exercises for your back before your journey, during your breaks, and when you arrive at your destination – if you are not sure which exercises to do, or how to do them, your Winchester Chiropractor will be happy to teach you.
3. This helpful fact sheet published by the British Chiropractic Association has some additional, helpful tips on preventing back pain during car journeys.
4. Share the driving with another person. Taking a spell as a passenger will help to relieve the additional stress that driving puts on your back.
5. Take extra care when loading things into your car before the journey and when unloading on arrival. Remember the rules of lifting and carrying: Bend your knees and lift with a straight back, keep loads small and carry them close to your body.
6. Visit your Chiropractor regularly for maintenance checks, take advice on postural adjustments, workplace ergonomics and diet and nutritional supplementation. Exercise to keep your mobility and flexibility as good as you can – and above all, to keep your core muscles strong. This will help enormously in preventing back pain on a long car journey and ensure that whether your journey has been for pleasure, or for business, that when you arrive at your destination, pain does not limit your enjoyment of your holiday or your effectiveness in your job.