How to relieve lower back pain after a road trip

T.The moment I bent down to open my suitcase, I realized that the three-hour drive had taken a toll on my body, with a sharp crunch on my lower back.

Summer is here, which means, if you’re like me, you’re spending hours on the weekends driving to meet friends, to be in nature, and to explore your corners of the world. Yes, this is the road-trip season, which is great news for your sense of adventure — and potentially bad news for your back.

What happens on your back during a road trip

“Whenever you sit for long periods of time, things can start to feel tense and sore,” said Brad Baker, DPT, a performance coach at Future.

But I sit at my desk for hours every week. So, why, after sitting as a passenger in the car for less than half of the work day, decided to do my back?

“Even if you are quoted at your desk as ‘working’ for eight hours a day, it is not that you are sitting strictly for eight hours,” said Abigail Fitzgerald, DPT, an associate professor in Mount’s physical therapy program. St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles. In contrast, a road trip doesn’t come with a break in the kitchen, bathroom, or water cooler, so you’re sitting for a really long time (except for the occasional pit stop).

You can also choose a position that is comfortable at the moment, such as reclining, which puts more strain on your back in the long run.

“The way our spine is made, it’s actually the best way to deal with the weight of your head and your arms and the rest of your upper body resting on your tissue if you’re really straight,” Fitzgerald said. “So a lot of the time when we drive, we end up, especially over time, in a kind of squatting position so that the spine is not piled up properly.”

How to prevent back pain in the car

It’s too late for me and my groin to go, but you can do anything to ensure your body road-trip storm weather.

“One of the biggest things is the setup of your car,” says Fitzgerald. “The environment can make a big difference in how good or bad your back looks when you’re driving for a long time or even a passenger is driving for a long time.”

Fitzgerald suggests keeping your seat so that you sit up straight, with your knees slightly above your pelvis. You might also consider wrapping a towel around your back, which will give you some lumbar support (or use a special lumbar support pillow).

He said to take a break as much as possible. And if you can’t, at least try to stretch and change position every 20 to 30 minutes.

And those core muscles employed! “Whenever you think about it, take a second to relax those muscles because the more we can direct our body to this kind of good posture, the better the loading, the less likely we are to be in a bad posture over time.”

Practice that core activity whenever you can, both inside and outside the car, and work on your core and back muscles so that you have the physical strength to maintain good posture.

Prepare a road trip with these basic exercises:

Three stretches that relieve lower back pain after a road trip

If you are experiencing pain and are looking for some lower back pain relief, there are some steps that can be taken to prevent sitting down and putting pressure on that lower back.

“Think about expanding in the opposite way to how it was stable,” Baker said. He explains that when you sit for long periods of time, your “lower back is bent forward, the pelvis is tilted backwards, and the buttocks are flexed forward.”

Pron press up

To make your back bend unbalanced, you may want to go for an extension. You can do this with a prone pressure: lie on your stomach with your elbows bent and place the palms of your hands on the floor next to your upper chest / shoulders. Keeping your buttocks on the ground, push your back arches upwards, which will help you move all those rounds forward.

Pelvic slope

For the pelvis, which has long been tilted backwards, Baker says you can do a “pelvic tilt”, which means lying on your back, tilting the buttocks forward with an arch towards your back and then releasing. You can get the same effect with a cat-cow position: move to a neutral table-top position on the hands and knees. First, tilt your pelvis upwards, bend your lower back, and lift your chest and head. Then do the opposite: bring your head down, round your spine and keep your pelvis down. And repeat!

The knee flexes the hips

And finally, to stretch your hips, Baker suggests stretching the hip flexors on one knee, also known as a equestrian yoga pose. Go to the lunge position and place your back knees on the floor. Then move forward so that your front knee bends at an acute angle. Do this on both sides.

You can extend these after a long car ride, or even try them during a break along the way.

A road trip does not mean lower back pain. Keep stretching and strengthening, take breaks, and maybe don’t even try to open your suitcase right after sitting for three hours!

But if you do, this powerful and stretching routine for back pain has really helped me a bit:

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