Seven Ways To Avoid The Pains Of A Road Trip

Avoid The Pains Of A Road Trip

Road trips are intended to be exciting, fun, and breathtaking as you explore new interesting places with your family members or friends. Once underway, driving and sitting for a long time in the car might put a ton of strain on your back and spine, accompanied by severe pain. Riding on ever-crowded roads and experiencing stress can also trigger or amplify this uninvited travel partner known as back pain.

Since our bodies weren’t supposed to sit for hours at a time in one position locked up in a car, unnatural contorting of the spine and back muscles often cause lower back pain, which makes the trip truly unbearable. Fortunately, you can use simple methods to enjoy your much-anticipated road trip and manage lower back pain. Let’s delve into seven possible ways that you can use to relieve lower back pain during your next road journey.

How to Avoid The Pains Of A Road Trip

Adjust Your Seat & Bring Back Support

Be confident that you are as comfortable as possible from the beginning of your trip, as even the smallest irritant can turn into raging pain later. Thoroughly adjust the seats to improve support for your body’s contours, particularly your lower back. Make sure you are close to the steering wheel, but at the same time, you don’t hunch your shoulders forward to get to the wheel. Adjust the height of the seat until your hips are at least as high as your knees, and you can still see the road correctly. 

If your vehicle has lumbar support, adjust it to support your lumbar spine. As an alternative, you can use a small pillow, rolled-up towel, or scarf placed between your lower back and the car seat for more effective support. Also, in case you keep your wallet, keys, or gadgets in your back pocket, consider removing it, so your hips are evenly positioned.

While driving, sit close to the pedals, maintain a correct posture with your chin up and out, and keep your shoulders back as well as legs at equal distance from each other.

Smooth Out Your Ride

During your travel, you can’t control the condition of the road pavement like potholes, rough patches, and road construction that you can face when driving long distances. However, bumps in the road can increase pain and jar your spine.

You can create a smoother general ride that may decrease the likelihood of low back problems with the following steps before embarking:

  • If you have the ability of road-tripping in a newer passenger car, the total ride will be smoother and more “back-friendly.” Refrain from driving a rickety old pickup truck or SUV, even if it means renting a new car;
  • Regulate the vehicle by replacing shocks and tires to limit bumps and diminish vibration and shaking;
  • Be sure the car’s shocks, struts, and tires are checked out by a mechanic and in tip-top operating condition.

Consider Using CBD Oil

Much like stress- and pain-free vacation, cannabidiol (or simply CBD) ensures much-needed therapeutic relief for most people. Obtained from either hemp or marijuana plants, this non-psychotropic and non-addictive cannabinoid is commonly used for its beneficial effects and healing properties. The potential ability of CBD to relieve stress, anxiety, inflammation, chronic pain, and aid in the treatment of other various health issues and medical conditions make this remedy worth consideration. 

CBD compound is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body that is associated with primary functions occurring in an organism, such as mood, pain, stress, inflammation, temperature, sleep, etc. By influencing special receptors, CBD can assist in managing anxiety, different types of pain and aches, increasing focus, improving mood, and providing better quality sleep.

However, travelling with CBD products with you to a place where this supplement is banned can cause law enforcement issues, and your journey might turn out not as perfect as you expected it to be. Spend some time on pre-travel research to make sure it’s legal to travel with CBD or better leave this item at home. 

Make Frequent Stops

Driving for a long time can be challenging, stressful, and exhausting work. What’s more, sitting still for an extended period can trigger muscle stiffness, which in turn contributes to lower back spasms and aches. Therefore it’s essential to plan frequent breaks as part of your road trip to get the muscles moving.

Take breaks often to prevent driver fatigue, reduce postural discomfort, move around, and stretch out the stiffness. Movement activates blood circulation, which delivers nutrients and oxygen to your lower back. These outside-the-car timeouts are also an effective way to alleviate driving-related stress.

It’s advised to set breaks for at least a 15-minute every 2 hours of driving. If you are subjected to back pain triggers from car travel, take breaks more frequently, such as every hour or two. At every stop, try to walk around, rotate your hips and shoulders, and stretch your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Hydrate

It might be tempting to cut back on water intake to reduce the number of restroom stops needed, but dehydration contributes to more harm than good. A lack of water can increase pain as the body will feel pain in the forms of headaches, muscle soreness, arthritic pain, and back pain. 

Try to keep plenty of water handy and unsweetened green tea that possesses antioxidant properties and can help to lower inflammation. Staying hydrated while driving helps to support your spine and joints lubricated and flexible for better comfort.

Take Hot/Cold Therapy

Seven Ways To Avoid The Pains Of A Road Trip

Hot and cold therapy involves using either ice or hot pack to relieve the symptoms of back pain from long driving.  If lower back pain has already appeared during your road trip, apply a heating pad or cold pack to the affected area to facilitate discomfort. Cold therapy can aid in reducing inflammation and swelling, while heat therapy may help to increase blood flow and relax the muscles to provide relief. 

It’s important to understand that these treatments are intended for short-term use for up to 20 minutes. It’s recommended to recover for a few hours before the next heat/cold therapy application. Prolonged use can cause damage to the skin, so ensure to follow the instructions. 

You can purchase ready-made cold and heat packs from your local pharmacy or made it by yourself. Take a hot water bottle, heat pad, wrap some frozen veg in a towel, or pack a small cooler with a couple of ice packs.

Eat To Control Inflammation

Road trips snacks can be unhealthy not just for your waistline but also for any back pain caused by extreme inflammation. Stick with useful snacks you pack yourself and bring various anti-inflammatory foods like spicy mixed nuts, almonds, smoked salmon, fresh veggies, and fruits like cherries and watermelon.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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