Thinking about hitting the road this summer? Before you get behind the wheel and onto the freeway, heed this advice to make sure your adventures aren't ruined by nagging back pain:
1. Use cushions and pillows
The first step in preventing pain your road trip is making sure you're comfortable. To promote spine alignment and lumbar support, sit with your back straight against the seat and, if necessary, use a cushion in the space between.
2. Stop frequently
Sitting for long hours in a car seat is not the best treatment for your back. During your trip, take frequent breaks to get out of your car and stretch. Prevention magazine recommends completing a few different yoga poses, depending on what part of your body is uncomfortable.
If it's your back, neck and shoulders, try the cat/cow pose. In this stretch, you rest on your hands and knees and alternate between slowly arching your back and raising your head. You can also do it on the side of the road by squatting and placing your hands on your knees.
For sore hips and back, try the revolved crescent lunge. Bend one knee and extend the other leg behind you while you lean your body forward. Then, bring your hands into a prayer position and twist your torso.
3. Eat well
One of the best parts about road trips is hitting all the greasy roadside diners along the way. While it's okay to indulge a little bit, your back won't appreciate you making a diet out of it on your trip. Instead, pack plenty of healthy snacks so you can maintain a nutritional balance and avoid the inflammation that causes or worsens pain.
4. Ice or heat it up
If your back pain flares up while you're on the road, you'll want to make sure you have the means to feel better. To soothe the pain while you're sitting, bring an ice pack along and alternate with your seat heater or a heating pack. Everyday Health also points out that some stores sell heated seat covers that you can add to your car.
5. Use cruise control
Having your feet on the gas pedal for a long period of time can aggravate your back pain. If possible, use cruise control so you can keep your feet level on the ground for a while until you feel better. While driving, make sure your seat is adjusted properly so your knees are at a right angle.
If you're experiencing back pain because of your road trip, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.