As summer holidays approach many of us are planning road trips, it’s time to also talk about how to prevent back pain.

1.Movement is the most important thing to do. Simple things like shifting your body position rather than sitting still can help. Try to switch up your position every 15-20 minutes. Move your ankles to give your hamstrings a little stretch. Any movement that you do and is safe to do in the car will be better than sitting still

2.Get out of the car at regular intervals. When sitting in one position for long periods of time, your back muscles stiffen up and cause aches and even muscle spasms. Moving and stretching is vital as it helps get your blood moving. Which then brings nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. For every 2 hours of driving you should get out and take a 15 minute break to move around and stretch your back. If you experience back pain easily, you should try to have more frequent breaks

3.Start off comfortably. Make sure you are positioned well right from the beginning of your road trip to mitigate discomfort and pain later. Support the natural inward curve of your lower back by using a special cushion or pillow

  • Empty your pockets, when you sit on anything, including a wallet or phone can throw off your spinal alignment and turn into pain later
  • Keep your knees slightly higher that your hips and chin pulled in to keep your head and spine aligned
  • Find a comfortable distance from the steering wheel to balance safety and comfort. Sit with your breast bone at least 25 cm (10Inches) from your steering wheel for airbag safety. Sitting too far away from your steering wheel can cause a need to reach too far and cause strain on your lumbar spine, shoulders, wrists and neck

4.Apply heat and cold 

  • Cold helps to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Heat increases the flow of blood and relaxes the muscles

There are products on the market to buy and also many options to make your own heat and cold packs. Apply either heat or cold for no longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. Allow your skin a break for a couple of hours before reapplying. If you are the driver, it is best to take a break from driving when applying these therapies