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Minimizing Pain on Long Road Trips

Vacation Travel Summer is here and that means outdoor fun and possibly travels. The following are suggestions to help minimize pain on long road trips.   Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible.  Make sure your knees are slightly higher than your hips.  

Either use your car’s lumbar support or roll up a small towel and place behind your lower back to help reduce low back pain while driving.  We stock several inexpensive lumbar cushions that could make your trips more comfortable.

Take frequent rest breaks. A short, brisk walk and some gentle stretching every 60-90 minutes will loosen tight muscles, help get blood flowing again and mentally refresh you for the next leg of your journey. The following are some easy stretches to perform when taking a quick break.

·         Seated Upper Trapezius Stretch: Begin by sitting upright. Rotate your head up and to the side opposite of your anchored arm and slowly lean it toward your shoulder, applying pressure with your hand until you fee a stretch and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

·         Standing Lumbar Extension: Begin in a standing upright position with your hands resting on your hips. Slowly arch your trunk backwards and hold with straight legs.

·         Standing Lower Cervical and Upper Thoracic Stretch: Begin a standing position and clasp your hands in front of your body with your arms straight. Slowly roll your head downward, bend your shoulders forward, and lift your arms until you feel a stretch in your lower neck and upper back. Think about pulling your shoulder blades apart.

·         Standing Quadratus Lumborum Stretch: Begin by standing in an upright position and cross your outside leg behind the other. Slowly lean your hips away until you feel a gentle stretch along the side of your body. Repeat on the opposite side.

·         Standing Hip Flexor Stretch: Begin by standing in a staggered stance position with your hands resting either on your hips are your car.  Keeping your back straight and upright, squeeze your buttock muscles and slowly shift your weight forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

·         Quadriceps Stretch: Begin by standing upright and having a hand on your car for support. Bend one knee upward and grasp your foot, pulling it toward your body and pushing your hips forward until you feel a stretch in front of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

 Make sure that your headrest is always properly adjusted. Almost ½ of car occupants who are hit from behind suffer permanent damage and symptoms. Much of this could be prevented by making sure that the top of your headrest is adjusted to the top of your skull.

If you are planning a trip, make sure to schedule a pre-trip tune up. This will help ensure a happy, pain-free vacation.