Summer is the ideal time to hit the highway here in Ontario, get away from the city rat race and see what our country (and our neighbours down south) has to offer. For many families, it’s an annual ritual built on mutual exploration, relaxation and bonding. But, unfortunately, car seats are not ergonomically flawless, and spending prolonged periods of time driving can create, or greatly exacerbate, back pain.
If you’re planning a summer road trip, take certain precautions to avoid back pain. The last thing you want on your vacation is to be virtually immobilized by pain, unable to enjoy yourself. Consider these few tips to avoid back pain before you hit the road.
Visit A Chiropractor
Before you take off, you want to cross your t’s and dot your i’s – you make sure the lights are off, the garbage is out, the cat is staying with your sister, etc., etc. Well, extend this same meticulousness to your health. If you’re worried about back pain on your upcoming trip, visit a chiropractor in Toronto who specializes in structural correction, like Transform Chiropractic – they’ll be able to offer tips on driving posture, support pillows and stretches you can do to avoid pain.
Be Mindful Of Your Driving Posture
You don’t want to be hunched over the steering wheel, nor do you want to be slumped back in your seat with your head cocked to the side. Before you even start the engine, ensure that your seat is in a comfortable position, and that the mirrors are adjusted in such a way that you don’t have to strain your neck to see them. Look into getting a lumbar support pillow as well, which will help take some strain off your hips.
Whether you need to stop for gas or not, take a short break every once and a while (every 30 to 50 minutes, ideally), to give yourself time to get up and move around a bit. If you stagnate too long in a single position, you put pressure on certain parts of your spine, but changing positions, and moving around helps you avoid that.
Wear A Seatbelt
This one is a no-brainer, and you should be doing it anyways. But, as far as your back and neck are concerned, you can avoid jerky movements on the road by being securely fastened with your seatbelt.
Load And Unload Mindfully
It’s not only the driving that can be hard on your back, but loading and unloading the car as well. Remember to always lift with your legs, and to not twist or rush when lifting. When in doubt, don’t be embarrassed to ask for some help – it’s better to get a helping hand than potentially ruin your vacation by throwing out your back.
They say that the journey is the destination, and there’s certainly truth in that. You want to be able to enjoy the act of travelling, whether with family or friends, free of pain and discomfort. Before you load the car for your next road trip this summer, visit a chiropractor for tips and advice.