The Southeastern Spine Institute

Driving with pack pain is no fun for anybody. Heading out into the world for business or pleasure shouldn’t be an experience you dread. Travel should be comfortable, whether it’s exciting or routine. Long drives, even when necessary and dreary, are luxuries afforded to us in this age of the automobile.

But driving with back pain can make traffic jams much more than a nuisance. Long hours on the road can cause new back problems or aggravate existing ones. The vibration, acceleration, deceleration and jolting of your vehicle can damage the discs between your vertebra. The vibrations cause a sort of mechanical damage to your discs that can worsen with time.

The good news is that you don’t have to continue suffering! The highly-trained specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, are available to discuss your discomfort and find ways to manage and ease your pain. So, the next time you hop in your car to drive to Charleston, you’ll do it for pleasure, not pain.

Lower Back Pain

Very few cars come equipped with seats that provide proper lumbar support. Uncomfortable seats or improper support is problematic during extended road trips or long hours in traffic. In many cases, the design of your vehicle and its physical forces are both working against you. Adding extra support, though, can make a serious difference.

Driving a manual transmission or stick-shift may be enjoyable, but it places more strain on your lumbar back because you’re constantly pressing the clutch. Automatic vehicles are a more practical choice when driving with back pain becomes unbearable.


Try to relax while you drive. It’s common to get tense through your neck and shoulders. The tension you hold in your neck and shoulders can lead to tension headaches and exacerbate the driving with back pain even more. If you find yourself gripping the wheel too tightly, loosen up. It helps to sit close enough to the wheel so that your elbows are slightly bent.

Remember that you don’t have to complete your trip in a single push. Take several breaks along your route. Get out and take a brief walk. After driving for extended periods, your back can weaken; simple stretches or bending can lead to injury. So, resist the temptation to indulge in that big dramatic stretch at journey’s end. Stick to smaller, more controlled stretches until your spine has recovered enough to handle larger movements.

Improve the Comfort of Your Commutes

Proper seat adjustment is the first step toward easing your pain. You should sit relatively close to the steering wheel, but not so close that it compromises your safety. When you don’t force yourself to reach for the wheel, it reduces stress on your lumbar, neck, shoulders and wrists.

Make sure your back is centered against your seat. Adding some sort of lumbar support may be necessary. If your knees are slightly higher than your hips, it takes the pressure off both your hamstrings and lower back.

Speak with the experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute about driving with back pain. They can devise additional ways to reduce your discomfort. They may even determine that your pain is being caused by something more serious.