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Long hours behind the wheel can mean logging lots of time getting jostled, shaken and otherwise put through the ringer on the road. For drivers who go the distance, back pain can be a daily occurrence. Unfortunately, driving long distances frequently can also mean a greater chance of chronic back pain that stays with you long after your trip is over.
A 2015 study in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health found that those who frequently were exposed to "whole body vibrations," like those during long drives, were more than twice as likely to experience lower back pain and sciatica than those who did not. Professional drivers in the trucking industry are those who are at risk for chronic back pain, but also those with long daily commutes by car or people who travel long distances by car regularly for work, such as sales reps.
We set ourselves up for back problems long before we get behind the wheel. Sitting for hours on the couch, avoiding regular exercise and an overall sedentary lifestyle can lead to physical problems that open the door to chronic back issues.
Even if you split your work time at a desk as well as on the road, you can have lower back pain following you around the job. Some of the best ways you can prepare your body is to make sure that when you do sit, you're sitting ergonomically.
Even on a seemingly smooth highway, the vibrations from driving long distances can create a painful situation in your spine. As a driver, you can't adjust your position very much while still maintaining control of your vehicle. Here are some ways you can make a long road trip more bearable on your back:
Above all, if you experience lower back pain and can't find easy relief for it, talk to your doctor about it sooner, not later. There could be easy ways to fix the problem, including occupational therapy techniques, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, and more. You should never let pain go on without consulting a medical professional as it could lead to bigger problems, and more invasive solutions, like spinal surgery or a need to change professions permanently.