Everyone gets in the situation where they have to drive for hours on end, whether it be for a work commute or for a family visit. It usually results in many people having a stiff and painful back afterwards. Here are some tips for helping to prevent, or at least minimize that pain!
- Use of a Lumbar Roll
- It’s well-established that the slumped / flexed position puts a lot of strain on the discs. This position has also been shown to result in decreased activity of the lumbar multifidus muscle, which is an important component of maintaining spinal stability1. A lumbar roll helps prevent the lumbar spine from falling into that flexed position and help maintain a safer posture. This item can be bought online, or can be self-made, such as by rolling up a towel.
- Frequent Muscle Activations
- While you’re driving try lightly contracting and squeezing various muscles, such as the glutes, rhomboids, and back extensors. This will help to keep them engaged and active, rather than “off” and not working to help stabilize you.
- Mobility Work at Rest Stops
- Whenever you get to a rest stop, take the time to do a quick mobility session! Your body will appreciate it, even if it’s for only 2 minutes. Try doing some standing extensions, psoas stretches, neck rolls, and any other movement to target the muscles that got tight from the drive.
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Written by Dr. Brandon Buchla, DC, CSCS
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