The modern world is adorned with cars and other forms of modern transport. We spend most of our time driving or sitting on the bus or train to work, then spend a larger part of the day sitting on office chairs. Not unless your line of work involves some physical activities that prevent you from sitting for long periods, then you are prone to lower back and neck pain.
Studies show that sitting for prolonged periods is a leading cause of disability, especially in older people. Driving is worse since your body is in an unnatural position most of the times. Let us look at how driving causes lower back pain. Many concerned websites, for instance, Free Your Spine suggests that you avoid driving for prolonged hours and try taking breaks to stretch when on long road trips.
How Driving Causes Back Pain
Though sitting anywhere causes back pain by exerting pressure on your spine, driving is much worse since, in addition to sitting, your body is subjected to a range of other different forces and movements that increase the chances of suffering from back pains. When you speed and break and drive on different terrains, your body takes all of this pressure from sharp turns, to bumps and sudden jerks. When sitting on a normal office chair, your feet provide a little bit of stability to your back, but when driving, your feet are actively involved and at awkward position hence not playing their stabilizing role.
Car seats are a bit different from normal seats. For a normal saloon car, the seat tends to recline back having you to push your bottom down and raising your knees just above your waist. This posture arches your back putting your spine in an uncomfortable and an unnatural position. If the spine remains like this even for about an hour, you can experience some twitching on your lower back. If this becomes a routine, then you will start experiencing back pains which may get severe if you do not stretch and exercise. If you drive for four or more hours a day, you are likely to experience these pains.
Mitigating Back Pains
Lower back pains can be very frustrating to the extent of preventing you from carrying out small and simple tasks. Managing the pains takes both your effort and discipline in addition to physiotherapy. Here are some measures you can take to prevent or heal back pains. Remember, it is better to take preventative measures than to wait and start looking for curative remedies.
Whether you drive or don’t drive, take your time to exercise and stretch your muscles. you do not need a lot of time or even go to the gym. Simple exercises can be done anywhere and at any time without interfering with your schedule. You can start in the morning by parking a distance away from your office, then walking to your office. While in the office, try and stretch every 30 to 40 mins. This will keep your body active for the next driving session. When driving for very long distances, take some breaks and do some exercises. These breaks help to relieve pressure on your spine. In addition to exercise, get some massage to regulate the flow of your blood in your body.
Adjust Car Seat
Before you start your journey, try and adjust your car to a position you feel comfortable. You can increase the seat’s height, ensure your back is aligned to your backrest, and that you can view all angles outside your car without having to strain your neck and back. You can add a pillow to your seat to avoid sinking in behind your seat.
Comfort is key if you want to avoid back pains. Since you cannot get a vehicle with all the comforts you want on a budget, then modify the seats yourself. Comfy seats are good for absorbing the pressure that comes with bumpy rides. You can add pillows on your seats to make them more comfortable or a folded towel on your back to stabilize your back.
Back, and especially lower back pains can be debilitating. Ensure that you prevent them before you are forced to use a wheelchair. Spend more time on your feet or you will end up spending all your life sitting.