How to prevent and alleviate back pain when driving

Updated Oct 07, 2020 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart!

We’ll give you some proven tips for preventing and alleviating back pain when driving for a smooth travel experience.

Driving long distance or regularly can take a toll on your health because you sit for hours. The most common one that drivers experience is back pain, usually at the lower region. A majority would deal with the problem after driving or when they are taking a rest. The truth of the matter is that there are actually simple ways of preventing and alleviating back pain when driving and this post by will focus on those that have already been proven to work.

Back pain while driving

Lower back pain is common to drivers

I. Tips on how to prevent back pain when driving

The excruciating pain on your back while you’re driving or after driving can be prevented by doing the following.

1. Posture is everything

As similar to standing, sitting, and sleeping, having the right posture is also one of the best ways to prevent a back pain during and after driving. Here are the things to keep in mind.

Maintain the “S” curvature of your spine

When you set the driver’s seat, ensure that your back and backseat are properly aligned. Then, slightly recline the backseat, about 100 degrees or once you feel that you don’t have to hunch while driving or your body weight is supported sufficiently. If the curve on the lower back is not achieved, it is recommended that you place a soft or gel-filled pillow or cushion so that you won’t have to exert a lot of effort just to have the right curves.

Keep the right distance from the steering wheel

It is advised that your seat is positioned close to the steering wheel; not too close and not too far. Positioning the chair too far will require you to exert much effort in reaching the steering well, which stresses your spine, together with your neck, shoulders, and wrists. On the contrary, positioning the seat too near will compromise your safety, especially when accidents happen.

Be mindful of your knees and feet position

Once the right distance from the steering wheel is achieved, sit in a straight position, and then check the position of your knees. Is it slightly lower than your hips? If yes, you’re all good. Next, check the position of your feet. Can you rest it on the car floor and can you access the pedals without exerting much effort? If yes, then you’re fine.

right driving position

Always maintain a correct posture

2. Empty your back pocket

Your car is a wondrous place since it provides you with a lot of compartments where you can put your things safely. That said, you must make sure that your back pocket is free from any items that can compromise your comfort and posture while driving, making it one of the simplest ways to avoid back pain when driving, either short or long distance. Put your cell phone, wallet, some cash, and other small items in the cupboard or anywhere safe that you can reach easily.

3. Take a break

This tip might be suited for those who drive long distances but might also be helpful during heavy traffic. When we say “take a break”, it means that you have to stop once in a while, and of course, you should also be mindful of traffic rules.

According to experts, if you are traveling stop over safely and park your car at least every hour, and then go out to stretch your legs and arms, as well as massage or roll from left to right your neck and massage or shrug your shoulders. It is also advisable that you bend your knees and try to reach the ground until your chest touches your knees.

Body Stretching

Stretch without violating traffic rules and endangering your life

4. Warm packs

Warm packs, on the other hand, can help warm your muscles to promote blood flow. They come in different forms and you can place them on your lumbar area as a form of cushion throughout your journey. Some of the available warm packs are:

  • Rechargeable: These are packs that can be warmed by plugging them into your car’s cigarette or dashboard power socket. Some brands though won’t have a matching socket, so you need to purchase a power converter or adapter.
  • Adhesive: If you don’t waste your car’s energy, the adhesive-type warm packs are suited for you. However, they will only remain warm for six hours.
  • Reusable: This type is the most common and they need to be boiled or placed in the microwave prior to use. It is suited for those who prefer or find relief from the moist heat.

II. Tips on how to ease lower back pain when driving

Surely, even if you apply the tips above, long-distance driving would still give you lower back pain. Same goes when you are unexpectedly stuck in traffic and you can’t do anything but stay inside your car. Hence, here are some things you can do to alleviate the pain.

1. Ice or cold packs

Whether you’re traveling alone or with a companion, it is also best to bring a cooler where you can put reusable and portable ice or cold packs. These products can help ease the inflammation causing the back pain.

All you need to do is wrap it in a towel and place it over the painful area for a few minutes. If you prefer adhesive-type cold packs, just directly place it on the painful area.

2. Herbal products

Today, there are a lot of herbal products in the Philippines. For your back pain, you can opt for commercially-formulated herbal cream or oil products or prepare your own essential oil mix. All you need to do is massage the product of your choice to the painful area.

herbal products for back pain

Today, there are a lot of herbal products in the Philippines

To sum up, driving long distances and being stuck in traffic no longer have to be very uncomfortable and painful. Just make sure that you follow any or most of the tips on preventing and easing back pain when driving that we have compiled above. Don't forget to visit our website regularly for more tips and advice on car buying & selling, maintenance and safe driving as well.

Charisse Kim

Charisse Kim


Charisse has joined Philkotse since July 2018 as a part-time content writer. Besides writing high-quality SEO articles, Charisse also works as a content editor and provides coaching sessions to her teammates.

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