Person holding their back in pain whilst driving

Can driving cause back pain? How to relieve pain when you’re on the road

Whether driving to work, dropping the kids off at school, or going on a road trip with friends, it’s fair to say that most of us would be lost without our car!

However, when you’re on the road for hours at a time, you might start to experience aches and pains in your back.

Why does driving cause back pain? Sitting in the same position for hours at a time, constantly reaching for the steering wheel, and vibrations from the road can all lead to stiffness and poor posture.

In fact, studies have shown that 50% of drivers complain about lower back pain.

The good news is that there are things you can do to give back pain the red light when driving. Here are some of our top hints and tips.

1. Take regular breaks

When going on a long trip, take regular breaks so you can get fresh air, grab a drink, and do some gentle stretching. A pit stop can also reduce fatigue, reducing the risk of accidents.

The Highway Code recommends taking a 15-minute break every two hours.

2. Make sure your car is in good condition

It’s important to look after your body as well as your car!

Replacing worn shock absorbers and tyres can reduce the chances of your car shaking, meaning less vibrations going through your body.

3. Invest in a lumbar support cushion

While some modern cars have ergonomic seats, this isn’t a guarantee. Buying a lumbar support cushion gives you lower back support, improving your posture and relieving back pain.

4. Turn on the heated seats

If you’re lucky enough to have heated seats in your car, turning them on can give instant, targeted relief.

While they won’t cure a bad back, heated seats can alleviate stiffness and spasms while you’re driving.

5. Stay hydrated

Having a bottle of water on hand when driving can keep the disks between your vertebrae hydrated and stop muscle cramps, reducing friction and back pain.

Make sure your water bottle is within easy reach so you don’t have to strain to grab it.

6. Check your mirrors

We’re all used to thinking ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ when driving, but it’s essential to make sure your mirrors are in the correct position. Having your mirrors set up wrong can mean you have to slouch or twist to see them, which can hurt your back.

Before you head off, assume a neutral posture, a straight back and relaxed shoulders, with your head held high. Adjust your mirrors accordingly, and you’ll be able to check them without hurting your back.

7. Plan your route

And finally, check your route before you head off. Roadworks can mean roads that are in poorer condition, meaning a bigger risk of vibrations. High traffic levels can mean you’re stuck behind the wheel for longer.

If you’re going on a really long trip, taking the train or an alternative mode of transport may be better for your back! Follow these handy hints, and you’ll be firmly in the driving seat when it comes to eliminating back pain on the road!

Follow these handy hints, and you’ll be firmly in the driving seat when it comes to eliminating back pain on the road!

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