If you drive for a living or have a long commute to and from work, you’ll inevitably be seated for a prolonged period. Therefore, you’re more likely to experience back pain and other musculoskeletal issues. Fortunately, at Enlighten Chiropractic, serving Lakeville, MN, and the nearby region, our practitioners are experts in musculoskeletal pain and have a few tips for you.
You might not be able to pull over every 15 minutes to give your back a break, but you should definitely give yourself a break every so often when you’re driving for prolonged periods. During the break, you should get out and stretch. On the other hand, at least get out of the car and walk for a few minutes. This gives the soft tissue in your lower back a break.
Consider Lumbar Support
Your friendly Lakeville chiropractor would like you to know that prolonged sitting, even if it’s unpreventable, can place pressure on the nerves, discs, and soft tissue in your back. Therefore, even if you’re driving, you’re stressing your lower back.
It could help to purchase a pillow or cushion to position behind your back as you drive. You could also roll a towel and use it as a support.
Performing Back Stretches Regularly
Even if you can’t stop your car to stretch in the middle of long trips, it helps to perform back stretches regularly. You make your back muscles and soft tissue more resilient to injury or, in this case, stress.
If you’re unsure of what types of exercises are most beneficial, ask a Lakeville chiropractor about their recommendations.
Start Seeing a Chiropractor
Individuals who have a job that requires them to drive for prolonged periods are more prone to certain back problems and possibly neck or shoulder pain. It’s not so much the driving, as the sitting and straining your body. For instance, you increase your risk of degenerative disc disease or herniated disc when you sit for long periods of time.
You can reduce the likelihood of these problems and lessen your risk of generalized pain by seeing a chiropractor regularly. A Lakeville chiropractor from Enlighten Chiropractic will perform routine spinal alignments to ensure your discs and vertebrae remain in perfect alignment. We might also recommend exercise therapy, among other treatments.
Customize Your Car’s Settings
Adjusting your headrest, steering wheel, and seat aren’t just important for driving safety; they can also affect your comfort level. You might feel as though you’re short, so you should be as close forward as possible. On the other hand, if you have long legs, you might extend your seat further back. The same applies to your mirror and headrest. However, how you have these adjusted might be slightly off and contributing to your pain.
As a general rule, you should be close enough to the steering wheel that you can reach it comfortably. Your headrest should be low enough that you’re not tilting your head. When you’re adjusting your seat, make sure you have it at an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees. You want your back and hips to remain level with your knees for optimal support.
Position Your Mirrors Properly
You should be able to look out your side-view and rearview mirror comfortably without moving your head. If not, you may be experiencing shoulder or neck pain. You won’t have to move your neck to see out your mirrors when you adjust them properly so you can see out of each mirror without turning your head.
Driving for long periods, especially when you do it regularly, can place pressure on your musculoskeletal system and cause recurring pain. By taking a few steps, you can reduce your pain and make driving less uncomfortable.
Book an appointment with Enlighten Chiropractic, serving Lakeville, MN, and the surrounding area, if you’re experiencing pain from driving. A Lakeville chiropractor can help, and scheduling a visit is as easy as calling 952-232-1935 or using our contact form.