Caring for Your Back During Extended Drives


At Ward Chiropractic and Rehab, we not only care for you in the office, but also strive to make sure you are doing what is best for your back health throughout your daily routine. Let’s face it: Americans spend an extensive period of time in their cars. Be it driving to and from work, picking up the kids from soccer practice, or finally making that road trip to see a long lost relative, we spend almost as much time in our cars as we do at home. It’s no surprise that this constant sitting wreaks havoc on our backs and chiropractic health. While this sitting is not ideal, there are ways to help alleviate back pain throughout extended drives.

Firstly, it is very important to make sure you are comfortable from the get-go. If you sit down and notice that there is a small pain in your lower back or you feel stiffness in your upper back, don’t ignore it! Your body is telling you that it is in a position that could be detrimental to spinal health. Listen to it. If you feel that your chair does not give you the support you need throughout the drive, roll up a towel or place a pillow behind your back to get more comfortable. Some may even find it beneficial to purchase a special pillow to keep behind their necks- just make sure these don’t prevent you from looking over your shoulder when changing lanes!

It’s easy to get in the zone on longer drives, but make sure you are stopping fairly frequently at rest stops to give your back a break. Exercise is great treatment for lower back pain to give discs and muscles and it distributes nutrients into soft tissues in the back. Walk around to increase circulation and be sure to stretch.  These small stops along the way can prevent you from feeling intense pain and stiffness upon arrival to your destination.

Lastly, it’s beneficial to keep some kind of ice or heat therapy (or both!) nearby to use when needed. Most back pain is accompanied by inflammation, and ice or heat therapy is a great way to help battle this swelling and slow nerve impulses in the area. Heat wraps or warm gel packs can also be applied to the area to help soothe muscles and help them to relax. Having these options available when you need them prevents additional back pain down the road. It pays to be prepared!

Overall, the best way to battle back pain during extended drives it to set yourself up for success. By keeping the necessary tools nearby and beginning all drives in a comfortable position, you are beating the pain at the source. Know your body and don’t ignore signs of distress- respond appropriately with hamstring or back exercises, stretch, and have an ice/heat pack nearby to soothe nagging muscles. Your back will thank you!

For more information and tips, visit Ward Chiro and Rehab today. We look forward to seeing you!