Baby You Can Drive My Car

We give you the best strategies for you to help ease your back pain during the summer driving season. Welcome to Dr. Devin’s Wellness Wednesday Workshop where my goal is to help you maintain or improve your active lifestyle. Instead of the usual questions today, we will write out the steps to set up your car below the video.

Tips for getting to your destination without your back getting on your nerves:

  1. Adjust your seat before you leave for maximum comfort
    1. I’ll include a link to a step by step process but here’s the highlights:
      1. Position yourself properly.
        1. Sit with your back fully against the seat back
        2. Your seat should be reclined between 100-110 degrees
      2. Hold the steering wheel properly.
        1. Reach forward and grip the steering wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock
      3. Ensure that your arms are in the right position.
        1. Your arms should not be locked but be slightly bent.
        2. If your elbows create less than a 60 degree angle, you are sitting too close. Adjust your seat further back.
        3. If your arms are fully extended and locked, you are sitting too far from the steering wheel. Adjust the driver’s seat forward.
      4. Slowly raise the seat until just right
        1. Begin to raise the seat, bit by bit, until the front edge of the seat contacts the back of your thighs lightly.
        2. If your seat is too low, your legs and lower back are propping you up, creating pressure points that cause pain.
        3. If your seat is too high, blood flow is restricted in your lower legs from the pressure on your thighs. Your legs could fall asleep, swell, or be difficult to maneuver between the gas and brake pedal.
      5. Inflate the lumbar support until you make contact.
        1. Extend the lumbar support a little bit at a time. When you feel the lumbar support contact your back, pause for 15 to 30 seconds to adjust to the feel.
        2. Inflate the lumbar support until comfortable. Inflate the lumbar support a little further, pausing after each slight adjustment.
        3. Stop adjusting when your back no longer feels like it begins to slouch after a pause.
        4. If your car doesn’t have lumbar support, roll up a towel or buy a lumbar cushion.
  2. Your spine is designed to move.
    1. Ideally stop every 30 minutes to get out – stretch & walk to help bring oxygen to your muscles
    2. Minimum stop every 2-3 hours
      1. Even 10 seconds of movement and stretching is better than sitting still.
      2. Change your position slightly every 15 to 20 minutes.
        1. Pump your ankles to keep the blood flowing and provide a slight stretch in your hamstring muscles.
        2. Any movement that is safe to do in the car will help you out.
  3. Don’t keep a phone or wallet in your back pocket
    1. This will slightly misalign your spine. It may not seem noticeable or significant at first, but over time it can cause or worsen back pain while driving
  4. Go cruising.
    1. If your car has cruise control, use it — if it’s safe to do so. This allows you to put both feet on the floor for short periods and distribute your weight more evenly.
  5. Ice it down.
    1. Put an ice pack against your back when you’re sitting. Ice packs help relieve back pain by numbing the area and reducing inflammation. There are disposable/portable ice and packs available for purchase.
    2. On for 20 minutes, off for 1 hour
  6. Use Biofreeze
    1. It’s a cooling gel that can help get deep into the muscles to help alleviate pain temporarily.
  7. Employ diversions
    1. While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that taking your mind off your pain can be surprisingly helpful.
    2. Even if you’re the driver, there are still a few options to help occupy your mind. Try a new music channel, download a podcast or listen to an audio book. Your local library will have audio books you can check out.
    3. If you’re the passenger, then you have quite a few choices: meditate, read, try a new crossword puzzle or sudoku, try a new app or electronic game, watch a movie or a TV series you’ve always wanted to see…it will take some planning, but having something planned to occupy your mind could become a real asset on your trip.
  8. Train like you’re training for a triathlon
    1. Add regular exercise into your lifestyle to strengthen your back muscles and release tension. Cardio exercises like running or swimming are great for overall fitness, and weights are great for improving muscle strength. You can also try these exercises for back pain to specifically target problem areas.
    2. Chiropractic will help keep your spine in alignment and help balance out your nerves, muscles, and ligaments so that your body can better adapt to driving conditions.

Join us next time so we can continue helping you maintain or improve your active lifestyle. Until then, contact me at 704-827-6560 or chiro@atkinsonfamilychiro.com

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