It is time for the joys of a summer vacation! Packing up the family and heading out of town for a few days of rest and recovery can be just what the doctor ordered — until you sit in the car for a while and realize, “my back and neck are starting to hurt.” It seems odd that sitting can cause you pain. You are, after all, relaxing (besides the arguing kids in the back seat and all of the construction).
Sitting causes back pain because your normal low back curve is lost when you sit down (please reference the picture below). This causes more pressure to be applied to your discs and exiting spinal nerve roots. The same loss of curve happens in your neck, too, which is why your neck and shoulders get tight from driving or looking at a phone or computer screen while riding.
What is the solution to this problem? Using a lumbar support, either the one built in to your car or just simply rolling up a sweatshirt and putting it behind your back, can help create this curve and decrease the strain on your back and the resulting pain. Keep good seated posture so your shoulders do not roll forward. Slouched shoulders will cause your head to push forward and will result in neck and upper back pain (chiropractors call this anterior translation). Again, the picture below shows this position and how much strain is put on your neck and shoulders with poor posture. A good reminder when resetting your posture is your ear canal should be lined up with your shoulder joint.
These are posture improvements you can work on while traveling, but you may still be sore from a long car ride, prolonged sitting at a desk, or sitting in bleachers at a ball game (Go Kalamazoo Growlers!). Regular adjustments will help prevent degenerative changes and pain caused by these everyday stresses and strains. Call Dr. Myers at Elements Chiropractic and find out why not all chiropractic offices are the same.