7 tips to avoid back pain on your next road trip
Traveling this Labor Day Weekend? If so, that could mean a long car ride and an uncomfortable situation for those dealing with lower back pain. Below are 7 tips to help alleviate back pain during your road trip:
- Get comfortable immediately – The smallest irritant can turn into raging pain hours later. If your car seat provides little support, roll up a towel or pillow and place it between your lower back and seat for more support. Don’t sit on your wallet or cell phone, which might throw your spine out of wack. Sit straight up with your knees slightly higher than your hips and keep your chin pulled in. Adjust your seat position slightly every 15-20 minutes for a little movement.
- Bring an ice pack – Apply ice for about 20 minutes to where you’re experiencing pain can help significantly. Ice therapy can help with inflammation and slow back swelling, numb sore tissues, and slow nerve impulses in the affected area.
- Alternate ice therapy with heat therapy – Right before you leave, fill a hot water bottle that you can place on your back. Refill your water bottle at rest stops. Buy a heating pad with an electrical car adapter you can plug into the cigarette lighter. If you have leather seats with heating power, turn it on for a few minutes at a time. You can also buy warm gel packs and heat wraps.
- Exercise at rest stops – While at each rest stop, stretch and work the hamstrings. You should stretch them twice a day when dealing with low back pain. Walk around a bit to increase circulation.
- Take the back seat – Use the back seat to lie down if your back pain is proving to be unbearable.
- Substitute your prescription pain medications with an over the counter medication – Taking your pain medications while driving is not advisable. You can always alternate with an over-the-counter pain reliever instead. Try acetaminophen (Tylenol), or NSAIDs containing ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), or naproxen (Aleve) for your regular prescription pain meds.
- Sit back, relax and rest – Taking a nap can be an effective way to limit the pain. While sleeping in the car may be difficult for some, most people can adapt and find a good way to nap and get some much needed refreshment and back pain relief.