Back to school can mean a lot of sitting for both kids in the classroom and parents chauffeuring them. There is the drive back and forth and the after school activities that take extra time with traffic and school zone speed limits. But I have to say the worst is car line.
I’ve never heard anyone say it’s their favorite time of day. The hurry up to wait and inching along and confusion of new parents that do not yet know the unspoken rules of after school pick up. It can be more than just a pain in the butt . . . it can literally become a pain in your back.
According to research at Cornell University, up to 90% more pressure is put in the back when sitting in the car compared to standing. No wonder back pain is complaint that we hear often right after back to school.
There may be no escaping car line, but there are ways to eliminate the associated discomforts.
The goal is to optimally position yourself to avoid increased forces on your joints, muscle strain, or awkward postures. So here are our top tips to promote both safety, comfort, and prevent back pain while you are in the driver’s seat.
Modify Your Sitting Position
To decrease pressure on our low back, recline your seat about degrees. Additionally, the seat should be positioned so both your elbows and knees are slightly bent.
Change Positions Frequently
You may not be able to get out of the car, but just fidgeting in your seat can be beneficial. When in park, do some ankle pumps, deep breathing exercises, and seated “cat and cow” stretches.
Empty Your Pockets
Don’t sit with a wallet, keys, phone, or anything else in your back pocket. This can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve causing irritation and pain.
Keep Your Shoulders Back
Maintaining an “ergonomically correct” position means no slouchy. Your shoulders should be against the back rest at all times (unless you are doing those cat and cow stretches).
Use a Towel Roll
Try using a small towel roll (pillow or even t-shirts works too) behind your low back for added support and to help maintain ideal posture in the car. This maintains your backs natural curve and prevents slouching.
Lastly, although it has nothing to do with your seat or posture, take some deep breaths. When we are stressed (from a time crunch or a “merge” lane gone wrong) we naturally get tight and tense in all our muscles including our back.
Taking just 5 slow deep breaths can decrease stress hormones in our body. Additionally, when we allow our stomach to naturally expand and relax with each breath its like an internal massage for our back.
If you try these tips and still find yourself stiff and sore through your back at the end of the day, click on the link below so we can send you a FREE REPORT for more specific advice. In “7 Solutions to End Low Back Pain” you will learn new and creatives ways to ease back pain… even if you’ve suffered for months or years and your doctor told you nothing could be done to help!