Summer is in full swing and for many people that means taking time off of work to travel and see the world. Unfortunately, concerns around travel safety during the COVID pandemic has prevented many people from booking flights. Instead, more travelers will be taking to their cars and planning summer road trips to get to their destinations. Although spending hours or even days in a car can still be a lot of fun, it can also wreak havoc on your lower back. If you have back issues (or want to prevent them from happening in the first place) check out our post on how to prevent lower back pain on summer road trips. And, if you still find yourself suffering from a sore back, make time to schedule your appointment for spinal decompression therapy with Flex Chiropractic in Columbia.

 Empty Your Pockets

Before you even sit down in the car, the first thing you should do is empty your pockets. We’re not talking about getting rid of a few quarters or that gas station receipt, we’re mainly talking to those of you who like to carry their wallet in their back pocket. Just like purses, wallets have a way of collecting more than they should — credit cards, gift cards, pictures, receipts, hand-scribbled notes, and the random fortune cookie fortune. All of this in one little four-inch square can make it pretty thick. If you don’t take your wallet out of your back pocket before sitting down, you can create an imbalance in your pelvis that can affect your spine and supporting muscles around it. 

Fortunately, you never have to worry about your wallet causing your back problems again — awareness is key. Just remove your wallet before sitting down.

Adjust Your Seat

Backseat passengers may not have the luxury of adjusting their seats, but front-seat passengers and the driver do, so you should take advantage of this privilege. Adjust the back of the seat so you’re sitting comfortably — having it be too straight or at too much of an angle can put stress on your back. Next, if you’re the driver, make sure that you’re at the ideal distance away from the wheel. Being too far away means you’ll have to hunch your shoulders to reach it and being too close means your arms will be hugged uncomfortably to your body.

Some car seats also come with the option to adjust the lumbar support. This kind of support for your lower back is very important for helping you maintain the natural curve of your spine. Without it, it puts extra stress where you don’t want it — causing pain and fatigue in your back. Don’t have the ability to adjust the lumbar support? You can find specially-made cushions designed just for this purpose. Or, you can always resort to just using a small pillow.

Get Up and Walk Every Hour or Two

This tip may be difficult for those who like to “make good time”, but believe us, you’ll enjoy your trip much more if you stop to stretch and walk every hour or two. Sitting in one position in a car will stiffen up your back muscles and joints and lead to unwanted aches and pains. 

You can incorporate more stops into your trip by planning them well in advance. This not only ensures you’ll be able to stop at places that are fun and interesting, but it also makes it seem like your stops are part of the overall adventure.

Pay Attention To Posture

Poor posture can quickly do a number on your back. Stress on the upper body can cause it to slump forward, so try to keep your back aligned against the back of your seat as much as possible. Making sure that your feet are planted firmly on the ground is another way to avoid transferring stress to your lower back. If you can place both feet on the ground, consider adjusting your seat or using a footrest. Drivers may not have the luxury of putting both feet on the ground, but when you’re on a long, empty highway and it’s possible to use cruise control, you should. 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated may not be the first thing you think about for preventing back pain, but you should. Most people already know that staying hydrated is important for overall health, but did you know that it’s also important for back health?

Your spine and joints need water to stay lubricated and flexible. In fact, the gelatinous discs in your spine contain water, and if you’re dehydrated, your discs will become dehydrated as well, reducing the amount of cushioning and causing added pressure on your nerves. Before heading out on your trip it’s a good idea to fill up a water bottle and then refill it whenever you make a stop. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you’re also likely to make more frequent bathroom breaks — which is good for getting up and moving around (another important factor in keeping your back pain-free). 

Have a Sore Back? Contact Flex Chiropractic!

Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, sitting for longer periods than usual can create soreness in your back. Whether you just returned from your summer road trip and need some relief, or your back hurts for other reasons, the professionals at Flex Chiropractic will have you feeling better in no time! We offer a variety of services from spinal decompression therapy to massage therapy and of course, chiropractic adjustments. 

We have a passion for healing and our goal is to help each one of our clients live a healthier, more pain-free life. With over two decades of experience, we’ll make sure you receive the best care possible. Do you want to know more about spinal decompression therapy or any of our other services? Give us a call or schedule an appointment and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to serving you!