The main reason why people suffer from low back pain on long car rides is inactivity. Our bodies are not meant to be immobile for long periods of time. Our muscles need to move about, contract and stretch in order to remain functional. Inactivity decreases blood circulation, waste removal and nerve conduction to the muscles resulting in muscles that are irritated and painful
If immobility is the cause of pain, then motion must be the cure. Here are some exercises that always work for me on car or plane rides. Try some of these on your next journey and you should witness a noticeable improvement.
Tips for Preventing Back Pain
- Stop and take breaks frequently. Have a breath of fresh air, get out and stretch and enjoy the scenery, grab a snack, etc, etc. But most importantly, you are stretching out those muscles and moving them, thereby boosting blood circulation.
- Keep hydrated.
- If you’re stuck in a car seat, wiggle a little. Crank up the tunes and start jiggling! It’s good for your health! You might not be inspired enough to break out into a full blown fist pumping dance session, but some slow gentle motion can greatly help you stay loose. Here’s how:
Mobilize Your Lower Back
- Start by raising your left hip then lower it. Then raise your right hip then lower it.
- Then try twisting your left hip forward then back, followed by the right hip.
- Arch your lower back so that your bum sticks out a bit more. Next round your lower back.
Exercise Your Gluteal Muscles
- Now you can start working with your gluteal muscles. First, you want to squeeze both glutes together. If you do this right you might feel yourself lift off the seat a little.
- Next try squeezing just the left gluteal muscles. It might help to push your left foot into the floor at the same time almost as if you are trying to raise that left hip off the seat. Now try the right and alternate back and forth.
- If you are feeling especially adventurous, turn the volume up to 11 on your car radio and just dance like no one is watching.
- A few things to remember for safety sake: To avoid accidents it is not recommended to do these exercises if you are driving. To avoid being seized up, try these exercises by yourself first so that you feel comfortable enough doing them in a way that doesn’t draw too much attention in public (the key is slow, small movements).
Performing these steps may seem a bit odd at first, but with some practice it will become a healthy habit on those long trips.
If you find the pain too intense or extensive, you might need to schedule a massage or acupuncture session.