Long Car Trip? Here’s How to Avoid Back Pain
One of the most common causes of back pain is prolonged sitting. If you are heading out on a long car trip, there is no way of getting around the fact that you will have to sit for prolonged periods of time. However, there are several easy measures you can take to ensure prolonged sitting does not result in pain. By preparing before your trip and by following the advice presented in this article, your next long car trip can be a pain-free one.
Preparing Before Your Trip
The following steps should be taken as soon as you know you are going on your trip:
- Determine the total distance of the trip. Use Google Maps or a similar resource to find out exactly how many miles you will be traveling and approximately how long it will take you.
- Plan breaks at comfortable places along your route. Breaks should be taken every 3-4-hours and should last at least 10-minutes. Once you know how many breaks you need to take, you can add the allotted break times to the total time for your trip.
- Buy pain relievers. An adequate amount of pain relievers should be purchased before you leave. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve, Motrin, and Advil are readily available in over-the-counter forms.
If you know about your trip far enough in advance, you can perform spine stretching and strengthening exercises and work on improving your sitting posture.
What to Do During Your Trip
The most important thing to do during your trip is to remain consciously aware of your posture while sitting. You should try as much as possible to sit up straight without rounding your shoulders, leaning forward, or lounging back. Additional measures you can take during your trip include the following:
- Rest at comfortable places. Taking a break at a rest stop or restaurant with comfortable seating in an air conditioned environment will help you relax and recharge. Taking a break at an outdoor rest area with wooden benches might have the opposite effect.
- Stretch. Stretching your neck and back while driving and at rest stops will help your muscles stay loose and pain-free.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water, juice, or sports drinks throughout your trip will prevent muscle spasms and cramps caused by dehydration.
If you find yourself in a position where you begin to experience back pain, you should take the appropriate dosage of pain relievers as soon as possible so your pain does not worsen.
What to Do After Your Trip
After your trip is over, you should make sure you stand up straight with your head up and shoulders back. Stretching can be done to help treat or prevent stiffness.
When you decide to rest, you should do so on your back so pressure is not placed on your spine. If pain presents, you should take your pain relievers.
As you can now tell, preventing back pain caused by a long car trip is straightforward and easy. If you follow the instructions outlined in this post and still experience pain that will not go away or worsens, you may have a back condition or injury that needs to be seen by an orthopedic spine specialist. It is recommended that you make an appointment as soon as possible.