The most common factor that triggers sciatic pain is sitting for long periods while driving. Besides the pain, this condition causes tingling and numbness along your sciatic nerve, from the sacrum down to your butt, leg, and even toes. The sciatica pain sucks and makes your driving a nightmare. And in worst-case scenarios, sciatica may result in severe lower back health complications.
But here is the good news: you can still find comfort during the hours spent behind the wheels! This informative article outlines well-explained tips to try if you're looking into help to get rid of sciatica pain when driving. Driving will no longer be a challenge.
Read along and find out more!
Tips of Getting Rid of Sciatica
Get Extra Support
Your car seat could be the main culprit behind your sciatica. You might just need to buy a seat cushion and it will immediately provide extra back support, which gives the spine an aligned natural curvature. Nowadays, you can easily find lumbar cushions that can fit your car seats perfectly. The cushion gives the back a chance to recover and heal from sciatica. With this, your muscles will strengthen and relax on their own, helping you maintain an upright posture all day long. The lumbar support cushion helps treat sciatica and prevents future injuries.
Beyond these lumbar support cushions, orthopedics advice to drivers is to choose a specialist cushion specifically designed for car seats. The cushion offers extra support and alleviates the pressure that builds up on your sciatic nerve while driving with sciatica. Buying the special cushion is a wise investment that will offer you to forget about sciatica while driving.
You can learn more about these in our guide for best seat cushions for long drives.
Maintain a Correct Driving Position
Having the correct sitting position while driving with sciatica helps to combat sciatica pain. But the question is, "Which is this correct driving position?" Always ensure that your bottom is as high as your knees. Give your foot room to hover and ensure you can wobble, move, or shuffle comfortably when you sit. If you are using a back support cushion, place it at an angle of approximately 110° to the seat surface. Be sure that your but occupies the central part of the seat instead of slightly twisted.
Slide your coccyx closer to the seat. This position makes it possible to sit comfortably while reaching the pedals with your feet and steering with your hands. Check if the headrest is between the top of your head and ears; it should touch the back of your head to reduce whiplash injuries in cases of rear-end collision. The headrest helps in blood circulation and also relieves sciatica, and neck and back pain.
Medications and Home-Based Treatments will Help
The first line of treatment includes self-care tips that may not need assistance from a medical professional. However, before deciding on the suitable medications to ease your nerve pain, be sure to see your doctor for advice. The professional will diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment option, which may include non-narcotic medications or over-the-counter drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen. To get the full benefits of the medications, it is advisable to take have the complete the sciatica dosage. These medications are safe and will help to reduce any inflammation in your lower back.
Just so you know, you can also apply ice or a cold pack to the painful region several times a day. The cold ice helps to reduce the inflammation that may occur after an injury. Alternatively, you can apply heat on your spine's bottom to relieve the muscle tension that accompanies the sciatica pain. Some common heat sources are chemical heat packs, hot water bottles, hot baths, and long-lasting adhesive heat strips. To know the appropriate home-based method for your condition, you will still need medical advice.
Regular stretching is a simple yet effective way of getting rid of sciatica pain. It is a light exercise that helps in relieving the tension on your sciatic nerve. When stretching, avoid bouncing but take a deep breath. If you are at home, perform the simple stretch that involves lying on your back with the knees bent and feet positioned flat on the floor. Be sure to place the right ankle at your left thigh's base then, place your hands behind your left thigh. Pull up towards your chest until you feel a full stretch. Hold the position for around three minutes.
If you can feel pain in your sciatica and spine, stop stretching and take a deep breath then continue. You can perform this simple exercise perfectly by watching an online video.
You can reap the full benefits of this exercise by making it a regular practice. If you are not a routine person, make it a habit to stretch before getting in your car and reaching your destination. You can also have the stretches as you alight to refuel your car or buy some snacks. The stretch will help in alleviating the symptoms of sciatica and making relieve pain in the legs.
Make the Ride Smooth
Having bumpy rides when driving for long periods affects your blood circulation and creates pressure on the sciatic. It will also jar the body spine and increase your nerve pain. To achieve a smoother ride, you can consider replacing the worn tires and shocks of the car to reduce vibration and limit bouncing, respectively. Instead of riding in pickups, you can choose to go for a passenger car.
And as we've mentioned before, you should always have a coccyx cushion on your car seat for better padding between your body and the rough road. With this, you can forget about the pain in your back and legs, even when behind the wheel. A smooth ride alleviates sciatica and back pain symptoms.
Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water
The spinal discs will lose water when you feel dehydrated, which results in sciatica. The consequence of this is experiencing shock while sitting or moving, which is very painful. When driving with sciatica, orthopedics advise carrying a full bottle of water. This practice is not common among drivers who are trying to get rid of sciatica pain. That is why most of them still experience legs and knee pain while driving.
Water hydrates the body, which in turn, reduces muscle spasms, sciatic pain, and other nerve-related symptoms. Furthermore, it rids the lower back pain by offering enormous benefits to the spine. The benefits include keeping your spinal discs fluid full for proper cushioning during movement. It also protects the surrounding muscles from developing lactic acid which often causes nerve compression and inflammation. Make it your rule of thumb to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
Take A Break
If you are driving with sciatica for long periods, be sure to take a break after some specified intervals. During the breaks, do whatever will help in pain relief. Stop the car and try stretching your leg, walking around, and massaging your knee before hitting back on the road. It is a cheap and simple-to-do activity that will cost you nothing. Plan the breaks beforehand, a break after every 2 hours for at least 15 minutes will do the trick. If you have a core-driver, you can plan with your fellow to exchange the driving seat.
Check How you Get in and out of your Car
Besides having the right sitting posture, how you get in and out of your car matters. You need to be extra careful while doing so by taking your time. Avoid aggravating, twisting, or bending your lower back as much as possible. These unnecessary movements may increase sciatic pain and cause further discomfort. The same applies when getting out of the car.
Doctors also advise drivers to avoid using the strength of the arms or upper body to take the load from the car's boot. Excess load results in pressure on the back and tailbone region, leading to sciatica. Though this practice seems easy and simple to do, you'll be shocked with the number of times you've failed to follow it, especially when you're in a hurry to hit the road. You can try planning beforehand how you'll enter and get out of the car. That way, you can rest assured of successful back pain relief.
Massage, acupuncture, laser therapy, biofeedback therapy, and electrical nerve stimulation are some of the common non-surgical spine treatments that will help in sciatic pain relief. Seek advice from your spine specialist and let them recommend the best therapy choice that could offer enormous health benefits in sciatica relief.
A physical therapist will teach you some specific exercises that could help to alleviate the symptoms of sciatic pain. After focusing on sciatica, he/she will also know how best to improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance. Not all these pain relief practices will be done in the hospital. Instead, he/she will recommend some DIY exercises that you can perform at work or home.
Driving with sciatica can be a pain in the ass! However, muscle weakness, leg pain, sciatica pain, tingling, and body numbness can adversely affect your ability to drive. Besides experiencing the pain while driving, the discomfort could also put a damper on other home and work-related activities making it difficult to move around. Everybody is looking for tips to have comfortable driving hours without experiencing sciatic pain.
You can now try the above tips and make them your must-do driving needs. That way, you will enjoy the drive behind the wheel, even when making long-hour trips. No more pain while driving! Whether pleasure or work, these simple tips will help in contending with the sciatic symptoms in your sciatic nerve.
Enjoy the drive! Forget about sciatica, back pain, and leg pain!