Back pain when driving? It might be worse than you think.

Back pain when driving can be upsetting and frustrating. These are some things you can do to alleviate the pain and prevent it from happening.

Back pain when driving

A study published in the Spine Journal may confirm that driving can cause permanent damage to the intervertebral discs of the spine. The study focused on how vibration (at a frequency of 5 HZ) affected the integrity of the annulus fibrosis (the part of the disc prone to tearing). The results determined that 80% of the test subjects showed some signs of herniation.

The reason why vibration at a frequency of 5 Hz is so significant is that our cars and trucks vibrate at this same frequency when we drive. Coupled with previous studies that have shown decreases in muscle response due to vibration and an increase in degenerative changes from sitting too long, this presents a very serious problem for people who drive a lot.

5 ways to relieve back pain when driving

  1. Set the backrest to a slight recline

  2. Use a lumbar support

  3. Keep your knees as extended as possible

  4. Take breaks from driving and stretch

  5. Work out your core muscles 2-3 times per week

If you experience persistent back pain, pain running down the legs, numbness or tingling in the legs or feet or a combination of these symptoms, you may have a herniated disc.

The only way to know is to have an MRI or CT scan of your spine.

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Wishing you good health,

Dr. Hagman

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