If your job requires long hours on the road, you may be surprised by how tired and sore you feel after a day of sitting. This is because of a combination of factors, from poor posture to lack of movement putting repetitive strain on muscles and joints. The following tips can help you avoid back pain, or at least relieve it after it occurs.
Tip #1: Mind your posture
When driving, good posture begins with seat position. Avoid reclining the seat too far back. You want to sit with your spine in alignment with your tailbone and with your shoulders straight. If the car seat doesn't have lumbar, or lower back, support, then invest in a lumbar pillow to slide behind your back. Also, use your arm rests, otherwise your shoulders may ache at the end of the day.
Tip #2: Know how to get out
The way you get out of your vehicle can also affect your back health. This is especially true if you have a job that requires you to get in and out of the car often throughout the day. When stepping out of the car (or into it, for that matter), keep your torso straight. Avoid twisting, when possible.
Tip #3: Get out and walk
It's best to stop the vehicle before your back begins to hurt. Take frequent breaks to walk. Simply walking two laps around a small rest stop parking lot can be sufficient to stretch the muscles and avoid a repetitive stress back injury. You can even multi-task during your driving breaks. For example, invest in a clip board and do your paperwork between stops while standing up. This is much better for your back than sitting in the car hunched over your paperwork.
Tip #4: Stretch it out
Stretching regularly is also key to a healthy back. Stretch on your walking breaks, before lifting anything, and if your back is beginning to ache. For the first stretch, place your hands on your hips and arch your back, pulling your shoulders up as you do so. Hold for a few seconds. Then, stretch your right arm above your head, leaning to the left. Repeat on the other side. Finish with a few lunges on each side to loosen the leg muscles, especially if you are planning to lift. Never lift anything heavy after a long bout of driving without stretching first, since this is just begging for a back injury.
Consult with a chiropractor, such as Rockwood Chiropractic, if your back aches or if you would like to learn more ways to avoid back pain while on the road.