Updated: Mar 3
Nothing can ruin a vacation like pain. Plan ahead. Here are 4 tips for a more enjoyable and comfortable road trip, wherever you may go.
Spending a lot of time in the car with poor driving posture is a recipe for disaster. It often leads to neck pain, jaw pain, headaches, disc herniations, numbness and tingling in the arms, or shoulder pain. Follow these steps to start improving your posture while driving.
Step 1: Move your seat up. Your hands should rest comfortably on the wheel, without feeling like you are reaching. You should be able to comfortably reach the back of your knees with your fingers. Step 2: Bring the angle of the back rest up a bit. This will allow you sit up straight and rest your upper back on the seat behind you.
Step 3: Position your head rest so the top of the headrest is aligned slightly higher than the top of your head.
Step 4: Gently press your shoulder blades down and your head back into the seat.
Step 5: Don't forget to adjust your mirrors to this new position. It's good driving an its a great reminder when you start to slouch.
2. Expert Level Exercises
Every 30 minutes (or sooner) move your body! Don't stop driving, just move your spine back and forth by activating your muscles. Give your abs a little wake up call by rounding your back forward and arching it backward. This motions pumps fluid along your spine and helps to rehydrate compressed discs. Repeat 5-10 times as you are driving. For the neck and upper back slightly tuck you chin in towards your spine and press the back of your head against your seat. Hold for 2-5 seconds and repeat. Never take your eyes of the road. Lastly, while holding the wheel at 10 and 2 gentle press your shoulder blades down away from your ears and back towards the seat behind you. Firing up these muscles to minimize burning pain associated with muscle strain and fatigue.
Be prepared. Bring an ice pack, heating pad, BioFreeze, and/or magnesium cream to relive muscle tension while traveling. Also, bring a little towel and roll it up. Alternate putting it behind your neck and lower back for added support. Essential oils in the car is a great way to ease the stress when traveling as well. Try lemon, grapefruit, or peppermint to keep you alert and refreshed while cruising.
Hydration and Nutrition
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day before your road trip and try to get a good night sleep prior to departure. Also bring a big cup of water (and a coffee if you want) in the car with you to sip on throughout the drive. For a little twist, sparkling water will also do the trick. Eat a well balanced, protein packed meal the day before you leave. This will keep you feeling full for longer. Healthy foods perfect for road trips include nuts, smoothies, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, bakes chickpeas, veggie chips, and power energy oat bites (recipe here!)
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Board Certified Acupuncture Provider who has been in clinical practice for 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!