Why does my back hurt when I get out of the car?

Ever got out of the car after a long journey and felt stiff and sore, particularly in your lower back? Well you’re not alone, this is a major contributor and source of a lot of people’s back pain.

For a large portion of the population their car is an integral part of their working day. Whether it be part of their daily commute or, for the likes of taxi drivers or couriers where their vehicle is their workspace, on the whole, we spend a lot of time in our cars.

This excessive amount of sitting is bad for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is, it is not good to be stuck in static postures for prolonged periods of time. Our bodies were designed to be upright and moving. Prolonged sitting in the car day after day can lead to poorer postures which in turn increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. These postural changes will be subtle and gradual and might to be hard to pick up on initially.

The second reason sitting in the car can be bad is that car seats aren’t always the best designed in terms of keeping you in a semi decent neutral sitting position. Often you’ll find that when you sit into your car, your hips will be lower than your knees. Then you have the reach to the pedals, which can create a long sitting position for the individual, which puts extra stress on the lower portion of your back.

If it’s unavoidable that you will be sitting for long periods in the car or enduring long journeys, here are a couple of tips that might just help a little bit.

  1. Sit with the backrest in an upright position, with your bum right back in the seat. Once there, adjust your rearview mirror for that position. As you get into your journey you may notice yourself starting to slouch. The rearview mirror will act as a visual cue to help you adjust to that better position.
  2. Plan your journey. Plan when/where you’re going to take a break on longer journeys. On that break get out of the car and walk a few steps. Do a set or two of lumbar extensions (adding a photo of same would be great –  see below ) and then continue your journey.
  3. Lumbar support – patient’s always ask me whether or not they should go out and buy a lumbar support for their car. What I always tell them is to try using a rolled up towel first.Simply roll up and towel and pop that in between the small of your back and the seat. If you find this improves your symptoms (reduces them or delays them) then it is a good indicator that you could go out and get something more permanent such as a lumbar support.
  4. Heated seats – if you’re lucky enough to have heated seats in your car, use them. They can be very useful for keeping the muscles nice and relaxed, however they aren’t going to fix the problem long term.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions or want more information don’t hesitate to contact us at 01 531 0007. If you’ve been suffering with symptoms similar to those mentioned above and they aren’t improving book in an appointment now