Driving with sciatica pain
Sciatica and driving truly do not go together. This is because of the excruciating pain it can trigger in the buttocks. As a good driver, you sit by adjusting with the wheel and drive until you reach the destination, which includes hours of sitting and moving shoulders. This triggers overwhelming pain in your back along with stiffness, tingling sensation, and numbness in your legs.
Well, these are the symptoms of sciatica. Thus, the excruciating condition does not go with driving. However, this is only true if you do not take some action to soothe the symptoms. Fortunately, you can take some easy actions to keep these symptoms at bay or at least alleviate them while driving. Let’s take a look at seven such actions through which you can drive for hours and still experience a pain-free drive!
How to relieve sciatica pain while driving?
1. Find your threshold and accordingly set breaks
Each person in this world has a threshold after which it becomes unnatural for the body to continue to work. A typist knows how many words can be typed comfortably in an hour. Similarly, a runner knows the distance to be covered without stressing the body in an hour.
Even you should know the limitations and capabilities of your body for driving. You need to know how far you can drive before sciatica symptoms flareup. When you are aware of these details, it becomes easier for you to take a break just before the flareup.
Taking such a break helps in preventing those debilitating symptoms due to which driving and sciatica tend to becomemutually exclusive for most drivers. Taking a break does not necessarily mean to halt and move out of the vehicle while in the middle of the journey.
You can even spend a couple of minutes relaxing your back, arms, and legs by taking your head back and legs in the front for increasing blood circulation.
2. Watch Out for Your Sitting Position
Apart from the drivers, passengers too experience discomfort if the sitting posture is unsuitable to the body. Thus, it is essential to sustain the most suitable driving position for handling sciatica symptoms effectively. So, which one is the best driving position?
According to the experts, such a position will have the bottom as high as the knees, no foot hovering, back support at around 100 degrees, and sitting in the middle of the seat. However, you, too, can find the most suitable position for your body by trying to identify the postures that cause sciatica flareup and then preventing them.
You can even try different positions to see which one suits your body the most. However, do so while you are not driving. Further, do not change the full posture at once, as a new posture may worsen your symptoms. The aim here should be to adjust gradually.
3. Do Not Bend Forward while Driving
Many experts will suggest you to keep the spine in alignment with the seat while driving. If you do not understand it clearly, it suffices to avoid bending forward at the time of driving. This will not trigger any pressure on the nerves, and thus, no sciatica pain or discomfort shall arise.
A simple way to ensure this is to use a cushion for lumbar support. Otherwise, it is common to stoop forward while driving due to which the spine is compressed that can put pressure on the discs in the lower back area.
4. Use sciatica pillow for driving
While the modern vehicles come equipped with comfortable seats, they may yet be unable to prevent soreness after driving. So, how do then driving and sciatica go peacefully together? Well, it is easy!
Just make your seat ergonomic. No, there is no need to buy a special seat or a lush seat cover. Rather, it suffices to get a sciatica driving pillow or a pain relief cushion. These are economical options to make your driving more relaxed while alleviating pressure between the back and the seat.
Most seat cushions are made to improve blood circulation to the legs and evenly span the weight of your body while alleviating stress on the sciatica nerve.
This is the most important action to take while driving. Stretch out so that your muscles get a chance to move. Performing a stretch helps your body to cope up with sciatica by relieving spinal tension, boosting range of motion and flexibility for better movements, alleviating muscle stiffness, and improving blood circulation.
You can easily learn some back stretches from your therapist and make them a part of your daily routine. You can even find them online to be a bit lazy for some time in between.
6. Split the journey into short spells
This is an essential action to take if you will be driving for a couple of hours. Here, you need to ensure that you are not behind the wheel for a prolonged period. If your journey is of 8-10 hours, you should consider splitting into four to five spells of two hours each.
When one spell is over, considering coming out of your vehicle and moving around as well as stretching a bit. This is not similar to taking a break of five minutes. Rather, it is recommended to keep a gap of at least 15 minutes every two hours or between two spells. Doing so will eradicate the most common complaint of experiencing sciatica symptoms after driving for a long time.
The best strategy would be to ask someone else to drive and give yourself a break for two hours. Consider planning for these breaks before you start your traveling.
7. Relax with Heat Therapy
Sitting in a single position for a few hours induces muscle fatigue. Here, heat is an effective remedy. It relaxes tight muscles as well as joints, increases blood flow in those sites, and alleviates pain.
Thus, consider harnessing the benefit of the heated seats. In case of no heated seats, consider carrying some heat pads so that their warmth takes care of your muscles and joints. Many sciatica drivers believe this remedy to be quite effective.
Sciatica and driving can go together by following the aforementioned tips.
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