Whether you have a trip coming up or you drive for your job, driving with low back pain can really suck. After about twenty on the road, you notice your back start to cramp up and the pain sets and and worsens with each mile. But there are things you can do to help make the journey a little better! So if you’re headed out of Portland for a small adventure or delivering someone’s lunch, check out the checklist for a more comfortable drive.
Road Trip and Driving Tips for Low Back Pain
Now it’s worth mentioning that there are lots of kinds of low back pain and what feels great for some types may not for others. But these tips will cover the most common causes and types of low back pain.
1 – Use your car mirrors like a back brace
Back braces can offer relief of low back pain in part by keeping your posture upright. You can use your car mirrors to do the same thing while you drive. When you get in the car, sit up tall and find a good, comfortable posture. Then adjust your mirrors to this position. When you’re driving down the road and you can’t see well out of the mirrors – it’s because your posture has changed. So don’t adjust the mirrors – sit back up!
2 – Don’t reach too far for the car’s steering wheel
When you have to reach too far for the wheel, you slump. This can increase the pressure in the low back and compound the effects of all the bumps and potholes you go over on the drive. So in a nice and tall seated position, bring the wheel close enough to where you have a little bend in your elbows. But obviously – – don’t bring it too close in case you’re in an accident
3 – Use a bolster for extra support
Not all cars have adjustable lumbar support bars; and even the ones that do don’t seem to fit most backs. So use a bolster and put it in the middle of your low back where it curves in. This will keep your back supported through the trip. You can buy a bolster from the store or make your own by wrapping up a smaller bath towel nice and tight and taping both ends
4 – Gas up your car every quarter to half tank
It will take you a little longer to get where you’re going, but your back will thank you. Frequent mini breaks where you can change position and walk around will make you more comfortable later on compared to just driving straight through. Now some of you have hybrids or electric cars – – you could probably drive pretty far on half a “tank”. So if that’s the case, just stop off somewhere every 45 minutes or so. Maybe grab some road snacks; take a picture in front of a cool sign; just enjoy the journey!
And that’s that! 4 quick tips to making sure low back pain doesn’t stop you from taking road trips all around this gorgeous state. Until next time, take care!
Hey guys, Dr. Lell here – your family Chiropractor serving patients from Sellwood to Oregon City. And today I’m telling you how to quickly check your posture. This is a great thing to do because if you can catch yourself developing bad posture, it is easier to fix than if you waited. Chronic turtle posture is a hard thing to fix – better to catch it early.
What Does Good Posture Look Like?
First, what do we look for in good posture? We check posture from the side and from the front. From the front view, you want to make sure everything on either side is level. The head shouldn’t be slant or turn, the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be the same height from the floor.
When assessing posture from the side, we use a plumb line to see if the following points line up. In good posture, the middle of the ear will be in line with the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.
Now there are countless of gadgets and gizmos that assess posture and many chiropractors, PT’s, and athletic trainers will consider posture when evaluating you because of the many harmful effects of bad posture. If you’re wondering what those are, read this.
This is a quick down and dirty screen for posture. Stand against a wall. Put your feet out about 6 inches from the wall – toes forward. Your butt, shoulder blades, and head should be touching the wall. Now here’s the test – there should be no more than about 2 inches space between the wall and the back of your neck and between the wall and the small of your back.
This ensures that the curves of your spine aren’t curing too much or too little. If the position is painful, all the points can’t touch the wall, or there’s too much space between the back of your neck and the small of your back and the wall, then it’s time to work on your posture. Check out my favorite posture exercises to get started or make an appointment if you think you need additional help.
As always, drop me a line on Facebook if you have any questions or if you’d like to request a specific topic.