Do you often have to drive long hours for work, personal, or recreation purposes? If so, you may have noticed that persistent low back pain and long hours behind the wheel seem to go hand-in-hand. Why is this the case? What can you do to reduce strain on the back while driving? What treatment is available for chronic lower back problems? We have the answers you’re searching for.
Why Does Driving Commonly Lead to Lower Back Pain?
When looked at from a side view, the back should be curved in an S shape. When the spine holds this proper shape, it helps a person to absorb forces that affect the body without suffering damage. This curve also gives a person proper posture, with the head directly above the shoulders.
Unfortunately, we often allow our posture to suffer when driving for a number hours at a time. When a person is slumped forward toward the steering wheel, the lumbar lordosis (lower part of the S-curve) is lost. As a result, every little jolt that comes from the road produces increased pressure on the facet joints, discs, and nerves of the lower back (lumbar spine).
Loss of lordosis has a compound effect on the spine. Over an extended period of time, the discs and other lower back structures may begin to degenerate. This, in turn, leads to persistent pain as conditions like a herniated or ruptured disc may occur. What can you do to prevent this degeneration of the lumbar spine from occurring? How can you find relief if pain is indicating that the process has already begun?
Lower Back Pain Prevention and Treatment for Drivers
The first thing that needs to be done to prevent further degeneration is to improve posture while driving. That means sitting up straight so that your lumbar spine is in an extension position rather than a slumped flexion position. This means paying attention to seatback position as well as lumbar support.
The second part of the process is to ensure proper alignment of the vertebrae so that disc degeneration does not continue. Misaligned bones in the spine can put pressure on various nerves and result in pain. Correcting the misalignment can assist a person to maintain proper posture as it helps to remove stress from the facet joints of the lumbar spine. With this stress removed, proper posture will feel natural, as it should.
Dr. Ward offers effective low back pain treatment by means of adjustments that provide relief of stress from lower back structures. This helps to reduce pain levels and makes it easier to maintain proper posture, thereby preventing further degeneration of the spine. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ward, call (703)672-1661 today.