One of the most common complaints I hear from patients this time of year is from pain while driving long distances. The most common complaint is low back pain, but neck pain can happen as well. These aches can be avoided and I would like to share a few tips to make that next trip to the beach a little more enjoyable. As patients of Bodnar Chiropractic, you have most likely been educated on the importance of curves. The curves of the spine are as important as the curves on the road. While standing, your lumbar spine has a natural curve toward the front. This curve needs to be maintained while you sit and when you drive. The problem with most cars today is that the seats are engineered for short trips, and not long term support. One must avoid slumping at all costs because this will flatten the natural curve of the low back. Please look at the 3D spine simulator on my home page to see a picture of the correct driving and sitting postures. If we find ourselves slumping, this will result in flattening of the discs, putting pressure on the spine and nerve roots. To alleviate this problem, start by positioning the back of the seat perpendicular to the floor and then recline it back about 2 notches. The perfect position would be about 115 degrees between the legs and upper body. If your car has a lumbar support, you could use it to help support the lumar curve. Try to use varios positions on longer rides so the discs don't have constant pressure from a stationary position. If you don't have a lumar support check out the various supports we carry at the office. There is no better substitute than a break. Ideally 10 minutes out of every two hours would be perfect. Stretch the hamstrings and raise your arms overhead. This will help take the pull off the low back and weight off the pelvis, helping to restore the normal curve. Finally, if you have a chronic problem before you even start driving, try the following. Most disc issues happen on either the right or the left side. Make sure you sit with equal weight on both gluteal muscles. If you have a deep ache on the right, try pulling up the left side of the hip and sitting back in the seat having the friction/pressure of the seat holding the left hip up slightly higher. This will help in taking off pressure on the lower right disc. Do the inverse for pain on the left. Follow these tips and they should help you enjoy the long weekends and trips to the beach.
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Alexandria, VA 22306