Back pain is one of the most common maladies that Americans deal with each year. And for many RV enthusiasts, back and neck pain can be aggravated by sitting and driving for hours at a time and for multiple days in a row. Typically, the lower back – or lumbar spine – is most affected. The lumbar spine supports most of your body’s weight and the pressure exerted on the lower spine increases several times over when you’re sitting. As you age, your spine and its discs deteriorate, which can cause pain and other symptoms to develop or worsen.
If you’re one of the people afflicted with back or neck pain when you’re driving your rig, never fear! There are a few things you can do while you’re on the road to help reduce your discomfort and make your drive more enjoyable. For example:
- Adjust your seat – Like the adjustments you make to your office chair, you should ensure that the captain’s chair is adjusted and in the most ergonomically correct position for your body. For example, your chair should be at the proper height and distance from the pedals for your legs to be comfortable. You should also make sure that the back of your chair supports you properly along your lumbar spine. Buy a lumbar support pillow if necessary. Additionally, to reduce strain on your upper back and neck, pay attention to the angles of your arms and wrists while driving – keep your upper arms in a neutral position, closer to the sides of your body, and make sure your lower arms and wrists are kept as perpendicular to the floor as possible when gripping the steering wheel.
- Stop and stretch frequently – When you’re driving your rig, it’s important to stop the RV occasionally, stand up, and stretch. Try doing easy stretches, such as reaching your hands toward your toes, reaching your arms up and over your head, and leaning your upper body from side to side. However, always be careful when bending and twisting, as that may aggravate your back or neck pain.
- Exercise – Most RV enthusiasts also enjoy being active outdoors, so this may already be on your list of things to do each day. Regardless, it’s important to exercise, even while you’re on vacation. Doing so can help you maintain a healthy weight (or lose weight), which will reduce strain on your lower back. Taking a walk each day counts!
- Get help driving – If your back bothers you after a few hours of driving, ask other adult members of your party if they could drive for a while. This can help ease the strain and pressure on your back and allow you to lie down for a while if you need to.
Of course, you can also keep over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, on hand to help reduce pain and inflammation. However, you should never take prescription pain medicine before or while you’re driving because it could make you drowsy and create a potentially dangerous situation for you, anyone riding with you, and other drivers on the road.
Luckily, with these simple and easy-to-implement tips, you can take control of your back and neck pain while driving your RV. To learn more, contact us today!