Dealing With Lower Back Pain On A Driving Trip

You look forward to the scenic view of a long driving vacation, but you don't look forward to how it irritates your chronic lower back pain. By preparing yourself before the trip and taking steps to work with your back during the drive, you'll have a comfortable and relaxing trip. Here is how to get ready for the trip and make sure that back pain doesn't spoil your time.

Before You Get Into the Car

Like warming up muscles before you exercise, you need to condition your lower back muscles before you start your long drive. This helps to keep them from reacting to long periods of inactivity and being in one position.

Drink water the day and night before the drive to keep your back muscles hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine because of the dehydrating effect of these beverages. Hydrated muscles tolerate the lack of movement during a drive better.

Take a brisk walk before the drive to stretch out the lower back muscles and increase circulation in your back. This decreases inflammation, which triggers your lower back pain.

Prepare Your Car Seat For the Trip

You want your lower back to be supported during the drive to prevent it from being pushed back into the seat. Invest in a back support for the car seat, or use a small pillow or rolled up towel behind your lower back. You need enough support to maintain the arch in your lower spine to keep your back muscles in a neutral position.

Stretch the Back Muscles Frequently During the Trip

Plan your trip so you can stop every couple of hours and do exercises to stretch your back muscles. When your muscles hold one position for long periods, they become exhausted and inflammation sets in. Exercises that move the muscles stimulate circulation in your back which reduces the inflammation.

Start the driving break by walking for a few minutes. This increases the circulation throughout your lower body to reduce any inflammation. Then do the following exercises to stretch out the lower back muscles so they can tolerate another couple of hours in the car. These movements are all done while sitting down, such as on a park bench or on a chair at a rest stop.

  • Lift both feet off of the floor and hold until your feel a slight pulling in your back. Relax your feet back on the floor for a few seconds, then repeat several times.
  • Place your hands under your thighs and pull up as you bend forward at the waist. Arch your back slightly and hold this position for a few seconds. Lean back while forcing your abdominal muscles forward and hold for a few seconds. Relax and repeat several times.
  • Place your left hand behind your back and right hand on your left shoulder. Turn to the left at the waist and hold the position for a few seconds. Then with your right hand behind your back and left hand on your right shoulder, turn slowly to the right at the waist. Hold, relax and repeat.

Do the exercises only to the point where you feel a slight pull in the back muscles. Never push them to the point of pain. Do the movements slowly and do not jar the muscles. By keeping your lower back muscles limber, you reduce the risk of a flare up of back pain during your long road trip. Talk to a doctor, such as at ULTIMATE HEALTH- A Complete Wellness Center, for more.