Planes, trains, automobiles – and back pain

driving postureFor most of us, using transport to travel for work is often a daily necessity. Whether it be by planes, trains or automobiles, our backs can become quite stiff and sore.

Our backs can become aggravated because they are being put in sustained seated positions that can cause tightness, overstretched and overloaded muscles and ligaments. In fact, humans are not designed to sit, especially for long periods.

Most cars, however extravagant they may be, are not built to suit the needs of the individual. Everything from the chair size and height to the distance of the steering wheel are designed for the population of average size. Everyone else out with this range, from small to tall will often have a car not designed to suit their physical needs.

When driving you always want to make sure that your hips are at a higher level than your knees, this will help avoid putting unnecessary on your lower back. Also ensure that your chair is moved forward enough that you can easily reach the steering wheel and pedals without overstretching. Your bottom you be firmly at the back of the seat and your back upright, avoiding leaning forwards. If your chair does not come equipped with a lumbar support, lumbar rolls can be bought fairly inexpensively and used to provide your lower back with the support it needs and stop you creeping forward into those poor postures. Furthermore, avoid buying a car or fitting your car with ‘bucket’ seats, your back will appreciate it. If possible, pull over once every half an hour and go for a short walk and stretch out your back and limbs.

Taking the train is usually not as traumatic on our backs as we are able to get up and have a walk around. If you are on a long journey, follow the above advice. Ensure you support your back well and get up and walk around whenever possible – avoid the temptation to put your feet up and slouch!

You may be more susceptible to back pain depending on the airline you travel with – no need to name names. More often than thought, you’ll be cramped into tight spaces on an uncomfortable chair. It may be difficult but try to maintain good back posture, using a pillow at your lower back to provide support. As plane journeys tend to be longer, try to get up and walk about whenever possible, giving your back and legs a stretch to. Flying can dehydrate us and as our discs can become narrowed with inadequate hydration drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol beverages (sorry!)

If taking the bus avoid slouching and poor postures such as ‘text-neck’. This is when you see people staring directly downwards at their phone, often for the entire journey. The same is true for reading newspapers, books or E-readers. Another handy tip is to get off a couple of stops early, not only will your back appreciate it, but it will help improve your general health and fitness.

Sometimes, all this traveling can lead to our backs becoming painful. If this pain does persist, here at the Buckingham Clinic we can provide highly specialised and effective treatment to help you return to your garden, pain-free! We are one of the few clinics in the U.K that provide IDD Therapy. In combination with a full spinal assessment, this therapy provides a safe, Non-surgical, targeted treatment and relief for those suffering from general neck and low back pain. IDD Therapy has shown to be effective in: improving disc health; rehabilitating your spinal muscles and ligaments and re-aligning spinal structures. So don’t suffer in silence, contact the Buckingham Clinic and see how we can help you return to pain-free travelling.

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