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How to Minimize Discomfort When Riding in a Car with Back Pain

back pain from car relief

Back pain affects all aspects of your life. It affects your daily activities such as sitting, laying down, and exercising.

What makes back pain even worse however, is sitting for too long.

Sitting actually causes 40-90% more stress on your back than standing, so that makes riding in a car with back pain that much more stressful and painful.

But luckily, there are ways to minimize back pain and reduce pressure off of your spine.

So if you are planning a long drive, by following these steps and we can assure you that your back discomfort will be minimized.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Tight/skinny jeans are still part of today’s fashion trend, but that does not mean that you have to wear them all of the time.

It is best to avoid wearing tight clothing if you know you are going to be sitting all day. Riding in a car with back pain is tough enough, cutting off circulation makes it even worse.

Tight clothing with no stretch can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain. It is best to wear either snug jeans that you can move easily in or loose shorts.

For women, wearing sports bras with thicker straps can also help alleviate neck and shoulder pain.

The reason wearing comfortable clothing is the first step in minimizing back pain is because if you aren’t wearing proper clothing, no amount of posture adjustments or breaks will help.

Loosen Up Your Muscles Before Riding

Before you get in the car for your trip, you should loosen up your muscles. You can do this by implementing a few stretches for 20 minutes.

Riding in a car with back pain can be alleviated by stretching prior to the trip.

The first stretch is the lying hip rotation stretch, this alleviates the stress on your spine caused by gravity.

You start by laying down, you bend your legs at a 90-degree angle with your feet together on the floor. You take both knees and rotate them to one side with your back still on the floor and your feet together.

Hold for 30 seconds and rotate your lower body to the opposite side and repeat 3 times.

Another stretch is the lying hamstring stretch.

You start by laying down and place your legs flat down on the floor. You lift up one leg at a time without bending your leg. Go as far up as you can and hold the position.

Some people have very tight hamstrings which makes it harder to lift the leg and hold it in place. If that is the case using a resistance band will be more beneficial and easier.

Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Repeat 3 times.

The last stretch is the knee-to-chest stretch. You start by laying down with your knees bent and feet on the floor.

You bring up one knee to your chest at a time, more advanced individuals can bring both up at the same time. You hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat.

This exercise stretches out the lower back and gluteal muscles.

By warming up and stretching before you sit in the car for hours at a time, you reduce stress and pressure on your back allowing you to be more comfortable.

Make Frequent Stops

You may think that making stops when only necessary will make the trip faster, resulting in you being more comfortable quicker.

When in reality, not moving for long periods of time will actually cause your back pain to increase even after the trip is over.

Sitting has a negative effect on all individuals, especially if your suffer from back pain. We have an article explain why back pain is caused by sitting if you need more information.

Riding in a car with back pain causes the muscles to stiffen which results in an increase of pain. Taking frequent stops to move around releases the muscles and helps the ease the pain.

Getting the blood circulating increases oxygen into your muscles which helps decrease the pain.

The recommended break time in 30 minutes, however, that may be unrealistic for some trips. The more time spent walking and stretching, the better you will feel.

But if you can only stop for 5 minutes at a time, then do it. Some movement is better than none.

Fix Your Posture

The last tip we can give you when riding in a car with back pain is to fix your posture.

If you are in the front seat, whether you are the passenger or the driver, you must keep the seat at a 100-110 degree angle. The seat must not be too upright or too reclined because this will cause stress on the spine.

Your hips should be as far back in the seat as possible with your head facing forward (not down). Your feet should also always be directly on the floor.

If you have space in the back seat to lay down, don’t. Not only is it dangerous, it will hurt your back.

The back seats have tons of indents and curves that the body can’t naturally form to. By laying down, your knees will have to be bent and you will have to turn on your side.

This will cause your spine to be in an unnatural position which will result in pain.

However, sometimes even if the seat is adjusted correctly, we still tend to slouch. That is why we offer back support belts with a lumbar pad.

This helps support the spine while also reinforcing good posture. We also offer a sizing chart so that you can find the best fit for you.

Riding In a Car With Back Pain

Although trips are something to look forward to, riding in a car with back pain is not.

That is why these tips are essential to follow.

Back pain is an issue that reoccurs whenever your spine or back muscles becomes aggravated. This can occur by something as small as an uncomfortable sleeping position or lifting something incorrectly.

But the important thing to note is that being able to prevent aggravations from occurring will be your best chance at reducing back pain.

You can do all of the exercises in the world to strengthen your back muscles and core, but if you aren’t adjusting your daily life to reduce stress on your spine, all of that hard work becomes ineffective.


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