Driving Can Cause Numbness, Dull Pain and Shooting Pain in Lower Back

Driving is one of the most common activities our patients complain about when they have lower back pain. Sitting causes increased pressure on the structures of our lumbar spine (lower back). Sometimes this can cause numbness or shooting pain down the leg. Sometimes patients have increased pain only after being in the car for long periods, while others can only tolerate a few minutes of driving. We even have some patients who only have lower back pain with driving, but are pain free out of the car! Whether you have increased back pain with your commute, running errands, or you drive all day for work, there are ways to help alleviate lower back pain from driving.

Recommended Seating Position to Alleviate Back Pain

The first aspect we look at with pain with driving is the seat position. We recommend an almost completely upright seat position. Whether it’s from dealing with a car that’s too small for their height, or just from habit, many people have their seats reclined too far while driving. At one point, that position may have even felt more comfortable, before the lower back pain started. The reclined position flattens out the natural curve of the lower back, causing increased pressure on the joints of the lower back, and can even cause irritation of the nerves that travel into the legs. It may feel unnatural at first, but often times, simply bringing the seat back to an upright position is enough to alleviate lower back pain with driving.

Recommend Using Highest Lumbar Support

The next thing we consider is the lumbar support. Many cars come equipped with an adjustable lumbar support. Many patients are surprised to discover that they actually have one and never knew it! The control for the lumbar support is typically a toggle switch that either increases or decreases the amount of support. We recommend our patients start with the support on the highest level, for the most support. Some patients prefer to back it off just a bit from that point. If your car does not have built in lumbar support, there are many back supports that will do the trick. The key thing when buying a back support for your car is to find one that will properly fit into your car seat. Many lumbar supports are intended for office chairs and are too think and will not be helpful in the car.

If these simple tips do not help resolve your lower back pain while driving, call our office and schedule a consultation with our chiropractor. Call 440-716-8400