Memorial Day weekend is almost here, and the unofficial start of summer means that many Minnesotans will soon be taking their first road trip of the year. Whether you’re traveling to a specific destination or you’re just planning on hitting the open road and taking in the beauty this state has to offer, you’ll want to keep your spine in mind before you hit the road. In today’s blog, we share five tips for preventing spine pain during a summer road trip.
If you’re going to be in the car for an extended period of time, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind so that spine pain doesn’t accompany you on your journey.
1. Take Some Comfort Items – Whether you’re driving or riding, it’s not always comfortable to be in the car for an extended duration. You might find yourself leaning back or hunching forward, and that can put additional strain on your back. Pack a pillow or a small towel that you can place between the small of your back and your car seat to help shift your spine into a more natural position so that stress is displaced appropriately.
2. Leave Early – If time is of the essence or you need to be to a specific spot by a certain time, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there by leaving early. This will give you time to make a couple pit stops to stretch your spine if pain or discomfort sets in. Also, if you need to make any pit stops for gas, snacks or a bathroom break, take this time to get out and stretch your spine. This movement will help to take stress off of muscles that are working when you’re in a seated position.
3. Wear Your Seat Belt – Wearing your seat belt can make the difference between walking away from an accident and never walking again. Help to decrease the risk of a significant spinal injury by wearing a seat belt whenever you’re in the car. Whether you’re going on a cross country road trip or just down the street, protect your spine by buckling up.
4. Hydrate – Driving is far from the most strenuous activity that will cause you to sweat and lose fluids, but your spine will be working overtime as muscles and structures hold stress in the same position for hours. To help ensure they can continue to do their job appropriately, they need an ample blood supply. If you’re dehydrated, your blood vessels will constrict and blood will not flow as easily throughout your body. Have a bottle of water nearby during all road trips to help you stay hydrated.
5. Seat Position – Finally, make sure that you have your seat back positioned so that your spine is in a healthy alignment. You have a little more freedom as a passenger, but as a driver, you’ll need lumbar support as you sit up so you can watch the road. Position your seat as soon as you get in the car so that it’s ready to go for the road trip.
If you keep these tips in mind, and you see a specialist like Dr. Chang if back pain develops, we’re confident that you’ll be able to prevent and treat any spine problems this summer. For more information, or to set up an appointment, call his office today at (651) 430-3800.