Remember when you were about to turn 16, and how excited you were about getting your license? Back then, driving represented freedom and you were so eager to get behind the wheel that you volunteered to run every errand.
But today, after a lifetime of experience and maybe even some injuries, driving may have come to represent pain, no matter whether you are behind the wheel or a passenger.
If you are finding being in a car challenging as a result of neck or back pain, you don’t have to give up the autonomy that driving has always represented. You may, however, need to make a few adjustments.
When you are suffering from cervical or lumbar spine problems, pain and discomfort can have a direct effect on your ability to function, including driving a car. If driving has come to be something you dread, you should start with a conversation with our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey to see what suggestions or fixes we have to offer. These may include medication or specific exercises meant to counter weak muscles or poor posture.
Other options may include sessions with a physical therapist, who can provide you with stretching and strengthening exercises that improve muscle tone.
Beyond exercises, there are other steps you can take specific to driving to make yourself more comfortable and minimize pain. These include:
Instead of plopping down or jumping out of a car, take your time and avoid twisting to get in and out. Using a swivel motion and scooting your butt forward as much as you can will minimize strain on your vertebrae and spine, and so will using tools such as the car door, a strap attached to the car’s frame, or even a cane that can be used as leverage when lifting yourself out of a car can make a big difference.
It can also be helpful to use a pillow to lift you higher in your seat so that you can more easily see over the hood of your car and hold your arms in a comfortable position without stretching or straining.
Improve Your Range of Motion
Work to improve your range of motion so that turning to check blind spots or backing up are not painful. If you do need to turn to look behind you or to your side, make sure that you are twisting your entire spine instead of just your neck.
Try to be strategic when parking, choosing parking spots that do not require backing up, and if you are getting ready to purchase or lease a new vehicle, choose one equipped with new technology such as a rear-view video and blind spot monitors so that twisting is less necessary.
We Are Here to Help
Experiencing back pain doesn’t mean that you have to give up once-enjoyable opportunities, but it may mean making adjustments.
If you are experiencing challenges as a result of back or neck pain, we are here to help. Call us today to set up an appointment.