Manage Back Pain: Road Trip

There’s nothing like the thrill of a road trip as a quick getaway from the stress of everyday life. However, you may not be able to escape occasional back pain, especially if you plan to do a lot of driving. With a little advanced planning, however, you can alleviate any back pain you may experience as you take to the open road. Here are a few suggestions from the physicians at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration for keeping your back pain minimal on your next road trip.

Make Your Car Seat Comfy

If you’re the driver, a rolled up towel between your lower back and the seat can provide some added support while driving to and from your destination. A car pillow that wraps around your headrest can also provide extra support for your cervical spine. You can also make your car seat more back-friendly by:

• Sitting up straight (poor posture causes back strain)
• Taking your wallet and cellphone out of your pocket
• Adjusting your seat now and then (to avoid staying in one position, which is bad for your back)

Take an Ice Pack and Hot Water Bottle

Hot and cold therapy is one of the basic forms of back pain relief, so take an ice pack and hot water bottle on your trip. You can easily fill up on ice or refill your hot water bottle during various stops during your trip. If you have heated seats, turning on the heat for a few minutes if back pain becomes an issue while driving can also help.

Stretch Your Muscles

Take advantage of breaks at rest stops by taking a short walk to stretch your hamstrings and other muscle groups that typically affect the lower back. Taking little side trips to parks you find along the way can also give you and anybody else along for the ride a chance to stretch and relax muscles.

Hand Off Driving Duties

When back pain becomes too much for you, consider handing off the driving duties. This will give you a chance to ease into the passenger’s seat back and rest your back for part of the drive.

Switch to OTC Medications

It’s not a good idea to drive while taking prescription-strength medications. Therefore, if you normally take prescription meds for your back pain, substitute the most drugs with over-the-counter versions.

Don’t let chronic back pain prevent you from doing what you enjoy. Contact The Spine Institute in Santa Monica and learn about motion-preserving spine treatment options that could help you live a more comfortable and active life. Call us today at (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation.