When you’re on a long road trip, you should stop every few hours to rest and stretch. Increase your circulation by walking a couple of laps around the car. Also, take a few minutes to stretch your back and hamstrings. One of the best exercises you can do to help ease back pain is the standing back extension.
Empty Your Back Pockets
Sitting on items in your back pockets, such as a wallet or cellphone, can throw your spine out of alignment and trigger chronic back pain. Even worse, if you make this a habit, you might compress the sciatic nerve, which can lead to a numbness and leg pain condition called sciatica. Before you sit down, make sure you empty your back pockets so you can sit comfortably.
Take Advantage of Your Car Amenities
If your car has cruise control, try to use this feature as often as possible. It helps you keep your feet level and keeps your weight evenly distributed. Plus, if your car has heated seats, turn them on to help ease pain and muscle spasms. If your car does not have this amenity, you can buy a power adapter to use your car’s cigarette lighter socket to power an electric heating blanket or purchase a heated seat cover. There are also battery-operated massaging pillows you can buy to help with back pain.
Work Your Inner Core
Throughout your road trip, work on contracting your inner core muscles. This helps stop your core from weakening and protects your lower back from extra stress. You should attempt to work your core muscles 20 times every hour.
If you’re the one behind the wheel, one exercise you can try is sitting up tall and pulling your belly button into your spine. Hold this move for two breaths, and then slowly release. If you’re not driving, you can place your hands on the seat in front of you or on the dashboard. Then keep your elbows tight by your sides, and press forward for 10 seconds.
Sit All the Way Back
The lumbar part of the spine naturally curves toward the stomach. However, due to incorrect posture, this curve tends to straighten out when you go for long drives. When this happens, it puts excess pressure on the discs. Combine this pressure with the vibration from a moving vehicle and you’re bound to suffer from back pain during your trip. To prevent this, sit all the way back in your seat and adjust it so you don’t have to lean forward to reach the steering wheel.
If you’re going on a long road trip, make sure back pain doesn’t ruin your vacation by trying out a few of these tips.