Pain Proof Your Commute

Here on Oahu traffic is unfortunately inevitable! Here are tips to consider to prevent or reduce back pain from your driving:

 

1. Empty back pocket – Mostly for men; remove wallet from back pocket to avoid tilting hips and straining lower back.

 

2. Posture in – Try to avoid bending from the spine when getting into your vehicle.

 

3. Adjust seat back angle – Set angle at a comfortable position where the ears, shoulders, and hips are in alignment.

 

4. Adjust seat angle – If your vehicle has an option to change the seat angle, tilt the angle slightly down allowing the hips to be in neutral position and maintaining lumbar curve.

 

5. Towel roll – If your vehicle does not have an option to change the seat angle, place a towel roll in the corner of the seat to position the hips in neutral.

 

6. Adjust wheel height – Steering wheel height should be at a comfortable level so your shoulders are relaxed.

 

7. Adjust seat to peddle – Seat distance from peddle should be at a comfortable distance so your heel is resting on the floor and leg is relaxed.

 

8. Oppo seat belt grab – If you’re the driver, grab the seat belt with your right hand to avoid shoulder strain. Vice versa as a passenger.

 

9. Mirror mirror – Use the rear-view and side mirrors to avoid over rotating the spine and neck when reversing vehicle.

 

10. Loosen grip – Relax your grip on the steering wheel to avoid carpal tunnel symptoms such as wrist, forearm, and/or shoulder pain.

 

11. Ear to shoulder – While at a stop, place one hand to lower back, place the other hand on the top of head and gently stretch neck toward the side of hand that is on the top of head.

 

12. Squeeze lats – While at a stop, contract latissimus muscle (squeeze elbows into torso) which relaxes trapezius muscles.

 

13. Belly push – While at a stop, push belly button and hips forward and back to restore lumbar curve and hydrate spinal disc.

 

14. Double chin – While at a stop, press head straight back into head rest, as in creating a double chin.

 

15. Avoid pot holes – Avoiding jarring pot holes reduces compression upon spine.

 

16. Take a sip – Always have a bottle of water to keep your muscle, joints, and spinal disc hydrated.

 

17. Breathe – Check your breathing. Restore diaphragmatic, or belly breathing, which reduces stress on the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

 

18. Let it go – It’s easy to get upset while in traffic, or when someone cuts you off. Breathe and let it go!

 

19. Posture out – Slide both legs out of vehicle, keeping spine from twisting, and use leg muscles to get up. Try to avoid bending from the spine.

 

20. Walk the block – Before you plop down on the couch after sitting in traffic, take a quick walk around the block to activate muscle circulation and spinal movements.

 

21. Stretch – Stretch the hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings.

 

22. Ice & heat – If needed, place an ice pack over the affected to reduce pain and inflammation. If heat is used, start with ice, then heat, and finish with ice. 10-15 minutes for each.

Taira Chiropractic

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Moiliili Professional Building

2525 South King St., Suite 303

Honolulu, HI 96826

(3rd floor of "Down to Earth" Natural Food Store)

 

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