How to avoid back pain when driving a car

If you have been experiencing lower back pain after long drives or back pain while driving, follow these tips to ease the strain and have a smooth drive.

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How to avoid back pain when driving a car

How to avoid back pain when driving a car

Driving offers an amazing sense of freedom. Beautiful empty roads, greenery on both sides, hair blowing in the wind - this is what road trip dreams are made of. But driving can just as easily turn into a nightmare if it starts affecting your health, especially your back.

Back pain is the most common complaint of people who commute long distances to work every day or drive for a living. According to a study, people exposed to high vibration levels, say from spending hours on the road, have a significantly higher risk of experiencing lower back pain while driving.

Tips to prevent back pain while driving

If you suffer from back pain due to driving or wish to take preventive steps, here are some tips:

  1. When you get into your car, take your time to get comfortable. Take a minute to empty your back pockets so that your rear alignment isn’t thrown off. Adjust your seat so you can sit up straight, with only a slight recline, and ensure the seatbelt fits perfectly.
  1. Fix all your mirrors so that you don’t have to constantly turn your head to see cars around you. They should be adjusted in such a way that you only have to move your eyes to monitor traffic.
  1. Support the curve of your lower back. You can use a small cushion, a rolled-up towel or t-shirt, or get a specialised pillow that’s designed to relieve back pain while driving.
  1. Take periodic breaks if you experience lower back pain after long drives. Sitting in one position can stiffen the muscles in your legs and back and aggravate pain. Take a five-minute break every hour or so to stretch.
  1. Carry a reusable ice pack in a cooler - or a heating pad, depending on which works best for you. This will help relax stressed muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce any swelling.
  1. The less work your feet do, the better it is for your back. If you have recurring back pain due to driving, you might want to get an automatic car that does not require your left foot to continually be on the pedal. Use the cruise control feature (if your vehicle has one) to further reduce stress on long drives.
  1. Keep your car in good condition to reduce vibrations. Get regular servicing done, replace old tyres promptly, and ensure you have good shock absorbers. This will help decrease the impact of driving substantially, especially on bumpy roads, and offer relief to your lower back.
  1. Incorporate yoga into your lifestyle. Yoga is the perfect long-term solution for chronic back pain after a long drive. Regular exercise will not only relax the muscles but also help strengthen them, alleviating the problem drastically.

Listen to your body

If the back pain due to driving still persists, seek advice from a doctor. It could be a sign of something more serious. Symptoms to be alert for include recurring back pain even with the smallest movement, fever/pain in the night, unexplained weight loss, and weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs.

It is prudent to have a comprehensive health insurance plan that will cover not only health check-ups but also any medical conditions that may be causing the issue. Tata AIG’s MediCare is a comprehensive health insurance plan that offers you best-in-class healthcare services and prompt attention without burdening you financially.

Make sure you #ThinkAhead and keep following these tips so that it becomes a habit. If you practice safe driving techniques and consciously maintain a good and comfortable posture, it’s very likely that you will look forward to getting behind the steering wheel and enjoy your drive rather than dreading lower back pain after long drives.

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