Lower back pain can rear its ugly head after driving for extended periods of time. Your body is not in an ideal position when you have prolonged driving. The lumbar spine is supposed to have a small curve, but long driving nearly eliminates this curve. As a result, your vertebral column and spinal disks bear the brunt of the pressure and strain.
It does not help matters that cars are now constructed in a fashion that requires the seat to be lowered and tilted back. This results in straighter legs that strain the hamstrings and causes the pelvis to tilt posteriorly. Unsurprisingly, your cervical spine is also strained due to these adjustments. Hence, long hour driving might cause shoulder and neck pain in addition to lower back pain.
Why and How Vibration Can Cause Back Pain while Driving
During vehicular transit, your body experiences vibrations along its entire length in both directions. Your lumbar spine typically has a resonant four to five Hertz frequency. Research has demonstrated that driving simulations can increase the standard frequency. The results then become vibration back pain symptoms that can increase the incidence of back pain and potential injury.
Numerous studies have consistently shown the correlation between driving and vibration back pain in the lumbar spine. Long hour driving and exposure to consistent periods of extended driving are high-risk factors for problems involving the neck and back.
Studies in Paris demonstrated that low back pain is more common for women after driving long hours. Your car seat design can help lessen the impact of vibrations and prevent your neck from extending past its bending limit. The car seat should feel comfortable to you once you have made the adjustments to fit it to your body.
A 1990 study conducted by Boshuizen, Bongers and Hulshoff monitored the effects of tractor drivers to see how vibrations influence back pain. They found the drivers had an incidence of back pain 10% higher than individuals not exposed to the vibrations.
Their study demonstrated that vibration dose and back pain are proportional. The researchers concluded that while back pain does increase with longer exposure to vibrations, the vibrational magnitude does not increase back pain occurrence. Additionally, they reached the conclusion that vibrations combined with long periods of sitting and poor posture are all contributing factors to low back pain.
Warm Up Exercises Could Help
Back pain from driving occurs from a combination of slouched posture and the many vibrations your body endures. It is a wonderful idea to squat before you begin driving and even when you break throughout the trip. Squatting allows fluids to return to the vertebral discs.
It is a natural DIY method to decompress your spine. Healthier discs have higher concentrations of water, so more hydrated discs equals less back pain for you. As you first begin the warm-up, aim to squat for a 20 to 30-second interval. Over time, your spine and knees will both benefit from this exercise.
Correct Posture of Driving Could Help
Proper lumbar support while driving will help align the spine in a proper fashion. You should sit in a way that lets the seat support your thighs as much as possible. Sit a comfortable distance from the pedals, but not too far because this may cause strain to the upper back and cervical spine. Steering wheel position is vital as well. You should set it so that you can reach the 10 and 2 position with both arms bent.
If your vehicle is equipped with lumbar support, you should position it to support the lower back gently. You can test to ensure your seat is properly positioned to enable correct posture. Place both of your hands on the steering wheel and look down at your legs. If your seat is in the right position, you will see both legs equally. Our another post has some good tips of correcting your posture.
No Bending or Heavy Lifting before Driving
With the increased prevalence of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, people’s spines are less able to tolerate spinal loading. Repetitious, regular bending can cause the spine to suffer injuries. This is especially true when twisting is involved as well.
For these reasons, you should avoid bending and lifting heavy objects before driving to decrease the incidence of back pain. You must gradually train your back with exercise to handle loading. Strengthen the spine with regular exercise to lessen the effects of lower back pain from driving.
If there is chronic back pain, seek for medical help, physiotherapy
For those whose spine has surpassed its bending limit, you may have developed a dehydrated spine that radiates with chronic pain. Individuals in this category will certainly benefit from physiotherapy. Your treatment program will distinctly focus on restoring the function of your lumbar spine.
We employ vibration pain management proprioceptive techniques such as manual stretching, therapeutic exercises, soft tissue therapy, acupuncture and more to return suppleness to the lower spine and decompress the vertebral column. We offer massages of five varieties to restore blood flow to your back and provide nerve stimulation.
Massage therapy will cause noticeably enhanced mobility and back pain relief. Reflexology is another technique renowned for its ability to reduce back pain resulting from driving vibrations. Your therapist will stimulate nerves in the hands and feet to promote healing of the parasympathetic nervous system. The traditional Chinese technique will improve circulation, ease back pain and restore the natural balance in your spine and entire body.
These are only a few of the physiotherapy techniques we offer at Pro Fusion Rehab for vibration pain management. We have two locations, one in Milton, ON and another in Pickering, ON. Contact us anytime to learn more about the services we offer or schedule an appointment. At Pro Fusion Rehab, we have the skills, prowess and compassion to alleviate your chronic back pain.