Back Pain from Driving? Here Are 9 Ways to Manage It

January 25, 2022

Whether it’s a road trip or a business trip, driving over long a distance is fun. And experiencing back pain from driving is part of the experience.

Sitting for long is one of the causes of back pain. It can be either lower, middle, or upper back pain.

You may be wondering; can driving cause lower back pain?

Yes. Lower back pain is common among drivers, especially those who drive for a living. If you are experiencing some back pain from driving, it’s time you start managing the pain.

Keep reading as we learn some of the ways to manage the pain.

But first:

What are Some of the Causes of Back Pain from Driving?

1. Accident or Collisions

After an accident or a collision, you may experience back pain due not the force that impacts your back or spine.

In some cases, back pain symptoms don’t show immediately; you will experience them later; that’s why it’s advisable to seek medical attention.

Some of the parts on your back that are injured include the nerves, muscles, spinal disc, and ligaments leading to upper back pain.

The facet joints can be damaged during a high-impact collision causing stiffness, inflammation, and lower back pain.

2. Poor Posture

back pain from driving

A bad posture alters your neck and back; it may weaken your muscles preventing them from holding your spine in a neutral alignment.

Hunching your head forward will exert pressure on your spine’s muscles, bones, discs, soft tissues, and ligaments.

Frequently leaning on one side is also dangerous and causes upper back imbalance and pain.

3. Improper Lifting of Objects

If you are subjecting your body to improper lifting of objects, you are at high risk of experiencing back pain.

To be safe, avoid keeping the heavy object aligned to your spine as it may cause damage to your upper back.

9 Ways To Manage Back Pain from Driving

1. Get Comfortable

You can prevent back pain in the car by preparing well before starting your road trip.

First, consider purchasing some utilities that will help you stay comfortable such as the air-filled cushions that will help keep your tailbone healthy.

Your back pockets should be empty; remove anything that alters your spine alignment, such as a wallet or the phone.

Adjust to the best car seat position for lower back pain.

Ensure your hips are aligned with the knees and keep a straight posture. Pull in your chin to enable your head to sit straight on your spine.

2. Steering Wheel Grip

hold steering wheel well to avoid back pain while driving

Your hands should be in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions rather than putting them at the top of the wheel.

With the position, your elbows will rest on the armrest reducing pain in the upper back.

The 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position favors the position of the airbag for increased safety throughout your ride.

3. Move Around and Stretch

Walking around will lessen the discs in your body and alleviate your lower back pain when driving.

Sitting too much in the car will leave your back muscles stiff, and you might experience some aching or a muscle spasm.

Get out and stretch after two hours of driving for about 15 minutes; if you are experiencing back pain already, consider taking more breaks.

You also stimulate blood circulation by moving around, and nutrients will access your lower back.

4. Heated Seats

manage lower back pain while driving

Heated seats will decrease pain transmission signals to the brain, altering the flow of blood and oxygen.

More nutrients will flow into the area, which will help alleviate the pain. Additionally, the heat relaxes your muscles and joints for more effortless movement.

Don’t worry if your car doesn’t have heated seats; heated seat covers are available too.

5. Feet Support

When your feet are on a comfortable and firm surface, they support the spine. You will reduce the amount of stress from the feet accumulating on the lower back.

Have a footrest if your car seat is too high to help keep your knees at a right-angle position.

Besides being a defensive driving skill, cruise control helps reduce back pain. If you can safely use it, you will evenly distribute your weights and put your feet on the floor for some time.

6. Create Lumbar Support

Most cars lack adequate lumbar support, and if you value your health, you will consider creating one.

How about rolling your sweatshirt up and placing it on your back for more support?

The whole idea is to center your back for maximum support from the car seat for easing the lower back pain from driving.

Remember, if your knees are bending higher than the hips, it will take away the pressure from your lower back.

7. Adjust the Mirrors

Adjusting the mirrors to the proper position saves you the struggle of turning or stretching to see what’s happening on the road.

Adjust when seated in an upright posture which will help you keep a good posture while checking the mirrors.

8. Make the Ride Smooth

Bumps can trigger back pain in many individuals. If you are having troubles with them, here are some solutions:

  • Replace the worn-out shocks on your vehicle to reduce the bounce on bumps.
  • Reduce the tire pressure by replacing worn-out tires
  • Drive a passenger car
  • Have the cold or heat pack

Depending on which one works best for you, carry heat or cold pack. You can make your ice pack by wrapping an ice pack on a towel or purchasing one.

For continuous heat supply, you can plug the heat pack in the car if you don’t have heated seats.

If you experience lower back pain from driving, stop and place the ice on your back to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation.

Apply the cold pack for only 15 to 20 minutes and allow the skin to rest before another application.

9. Mind Diversion

As hard as it may seem, diverting your mind from the pain would make a difference. However, the method of diversion should be a safe one.

Consider having your best playlist, which would work well with a good car speaker.

The passengers may consider other options like playing crossword, sudoku, or meditation.

The Final Word on Back Pain from Driving

Most people who experience back pain have not considered changing their posture or making some changes in the car. If you are experiencing pain, follow the above tips for a better driving experience. If the pain is not manageable, consider visiting a doctor for medication.

For the best driving lessons, consider Pierre Paul Driving school.