Summer is the perfect time for a long road trip, but it’s important to prepare accordingly before setting out on the road. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from chronic back pain or who are susceptible to back pain from driving or after sitting in the car for an extended time. Both drivers and passengers should know how to prevent back pain while in the car to enjoy their summer road trips to the fullest.
Posture Is Crucial
The way you sit in a car seat has a big influence on the pain you experience after a few hours on the road. You should have the headrest about one inch lower than the top of your head so it can fully support it. Your hands should rest at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions on the steering wheel so your arms bend at an 80- to 120-degree angle. If the angle is less than 60 degrees, you are sitting too close to the steering wheel. If you have to extend your arms completely straight to reach the steering wheel, you are sitting too far away.
You can also lower your seat position to its lowest setting to keep your spine aligned properly. When your seat tilts upward, your legs bend at your hips and this can cause hip pain while driving. Take advantage of your car’s adjustable seating positions to improve your posture. This can help with proper posture and reduce back pain.
Posture Affects More Than Driving
It’s a good idea to work on proper posture even when you are not driving. If you are vulnerable to any type of back pain, your posture could be making things worse. Correcting your posture while driving is not only safer for driving purposes, but also lowers the chances of experiencing back pain while driving. Over time, poor posture behind the wheel can lead to back problems and an increased susceptibility to some injuries. You should also empty your back pockets before driving, because sitting on something like a cell phone or wallet offsets your spinal column, increasing the likelihood of back pain.
Seat Support Can Make A Difference
There are countless devices you can purchase for your car to make your seats more comfortable. The seats in modern cars typically feature different adjustment capabilities that allow you to control the positions of the different parts of your seats. Familiarize yourself with these settings so you can find the position that is ideal for you. If you are taking passengers for a long car trip, have them take a few minutes to adjust their seats appropriately before hitting the road.
Make Your Own Lumbar Support
If you can’t find an acceptable back support device, or you’re already on the road and need a quick solution to your lower back pain, making your own lumbar support could be a terrific option. Something as simple as a rolled-up towel can function as seat support for back pain by applying pressure to the lumbar region of the spine. The lumbar is the lower region of the back where most back pain occurs, and rolling a towel to place between your back and your seat could help alleviate this discomfort.
You should always plan stops for food and fuel while on the road for a long trip, but these breaks are also important for your back. Try to take breaks every few hours to stretch and walk around. Sitting in one position for too long can cause discomfort throughout the body, so these breaks can help you feel fit to drive for longer.
Shifts For Long Trips
If you are traveling with others, try to arrange driving shifts with them. Driving on your own for an extended time is fatiguing, so ask a passenger to take over when you need to rest. Drivers tend to tense up while watching the road, ready to press either pedal as needed or shift into the appropriate gear. Staying in such a “ready” position for too long can cause significant back pain, so don’t be afraid to ask your passengers to take turns behind the wheel for very long trips.
Bring Your Own Hot And Cold Packs
We all know it’s important to have a first aid kit in your car. Think of hot and cold packs as first aid for your back. Keep a small cooler available with ice packs in case of back pain, and consider keeping small hot packs as well. Self-heating packets can help warm and relax tensed muscles and alleviate stress, so plan for this before your next summer road trip.
5 Take Advantage Of Your Car’s Amenities
Finally, be sure to take full advantage of all the creature comforts your vehicle offers. Heated seats can be helpful for managing back pain while you drive. Your vehicle’s climate control settings can also make the passenger cabin more comfortable, helping you to drive for longer periods.
Finding A New Car For Your Next Road Trip
If you’re interested in a new car for your next summer road trip, Red Mountain Funding can help. Red Mountain Funding offers financing options for vehicle purchases and also has a small stock of certified used vehicles at well below typical sticker price. If you’re not sure whether your car can handle a long summer road trip without causing excruciating back pain, see what Red Mountain Funding has to offer.