Four Ways to Stay Pain-Free on Your Commute to Work
One of the worst things about living or working in a big city is the constant traffic. Everyone’s time of commute is different, but most people spend on average two hours in their cars driving to and from work. All that extra time behind the wheel may mean some extra time at the chiropractor. Try these tips to help prevent back pain during your weekday commute.
- Focus on Your Breathing: Being hunched over in the driving position can cause us to have shallow breaths. When we take in less oxygen, we put ourselves in danger of fatigue, high blood pressure, stress, and brain fogginess. It is best to breath in deeply in and out of your mouth and nose. Keep your chest up so that the maximum amount of air can enter your lungs. This should instantly make you feel better and more relaxed, even when you are at a traffic standstill.
- Use the Stops as Times to Stretch: Even though you are sitting in your car, you can still take a few seconds to stretch. Of course, the best time to stretch is when you are at a standstill or stopped at a light. Try tucking in your tailbone, spinal twists, curling your spine forward, and stretching your arms and shoulders. Practice stretching one part of the body at each stop. If your trip is more than an hour and a half, then it is best to schedule a short stop so that you can get out and stretch and let blood circulate properly.
- Practice Proper Posture: Arrange your seat so that it allows you to be comfortable, as well as have proper posture. You may think that having your seat slightly back is more comfortable, but it can put your lower back at an awkward angle, causing pain later. It is also wise to roll up a towel or sweater and stick it between the seat and the small of your back. This will allow the natural curve of your back to be supported.
- Pack an Ice Pack or Heating Pad: The use of heat and ice can offset inflammation of the back. It is easy to throw a microwavable heating pad in the microwave for a few minutes or grab an ice pack from the freezer before you start on your commute. Keep it on for no more than twenty minutes with a barrier between your skin and the heating pad or ice pack. You can store a heating pad or ice pack at work for some much needed relief at the end of the day too.
No one likes to be stuck in traffic, and back pain only makes the issue worse. Try these tips to avoid coming home with a bad back.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician if you are experiencing any back pain or other symptoms.
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