Body Wellness: Driving And Back Pain
By Dr. Kelly Herta, DC
Do you suffer from back pain as a result of your daily commute to work? If so, you are not alone. In fact many people complain that their back pain has either been brought on or increased by their daily commute. Several factors may cause this type of pain: these may include driving with little or no low back or lumbar support, the repetitive use of only one leg pushing on the cars pedals, sitting with the seat leaned too far back and even sitting with your wallet in your back pocket. Patients often report such symptoms as:
- neck pain
- arm pain
- low back pain
- buttock pain
- leg pain including numbness, burning, or tingling
These symptoms can be the result of spinal misalignment, muscle imbalance, a lack of flexibility and prior injuries to the region. Over time, when you sit in the same position muscles begin to shorten, just like when you haven't stretched in a long time you will experience decreased flexibility. Over time the muscles in the legs and back shorten often causing muscular imbalance. This is accentuated with driving, since as we use our right leg only to push on the cars pedals we tend to overuse the muscles on our right side of our body increasing muscular imbalance. This muscular imbalance will eventually lead to pain in the surrounding areas by pulling the joints out of alignment and causing increased nerve pressure. Once a nerve has pressure placed on it, it nerve will have decreased function which in turn causes pain.
So, what can you do to decrease the pain? First, see your local Chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments serve to realign the spine. This alignment ensures that all joints are moving through their proper range of motion which then relieves any nerve pressure in the area in turn helping to decrease muscle spasm and imbalance. Along with chiropractic adjustments, it is important to use proper stretching techniques. Stretching before and after a long car ride can help to reduce and prevent back pain. Using proper supports on your car seat such as a lumbar support can also help by not only improving your posture while you drive but also help to support the low back. Exercises that strengthen the core are also important. The core encompasses the abdominal region as well as your low back, strengthening this area will help to decrease your chances of suffering from a back injury.
For more information, Dr. Kelly Herta, DC at Aligned Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center. 27875 Smyth Dr. # 100, (661)295-5200.