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How to Sit in a Car without Back Pain? Road Trip for this long weekend?

Our patients always ask me how to prevent lower back pain during long drives?

But first, I want to talk about some of the reasons why does driving cause lower back pain?

  • The pressure placed on the lumbar curve.
  • Lumbar curve puts excessive pressure on the discs
  • Modern cars have a lower roof line and so reduced internal space. To allow this the seat is often lowered and tipped back which causes the legs to be straighter, placing strain on the hamstrings, in turn pulling on their pelvic attachments and resulting in the pelvis rolling backwards.

There is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you stand up.
Most people have no idea that their comfortable driving position is negatively affecting so many areas of their body.
I hope these tips may help you alleviate the pain!

1. Posturing

If you tend to sit with your wallet, cellphone, or keys in the rear pocket of your pants, take them out. Sitting on them put pressures on your sciatic nerve, it is a common source of lower back pain.

2. Support

If your car seat doesn’t give good lumbar support, use a small towel or something else soft in order to create a support for your back. Put this right up into the region of your upper spine. Depending on your seat, it will vary as to how much material you’re going to need, so experiment a bit. It is important to place this really high up along your back, right around your mid ribcage area, to get the best support. You should feel your spine being supported, your shoulders are relaxed. This will help creating a natural position.

If you have adjustable lumbar support in newer cars, adjust for comfort.

3. Take Break Every Two Hours

Pull over and walk around for 5 minutes. Then do some stretches.

4. Be Patient

It can take time to readjust a poor seating habit when driving.

5. Leave the tight clothes at home

They will restrict your movement.

6. Relax

A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.
Drive Safe, and  Have a great memorial day weekend!

Dr. Austin Hsu

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