How to Avoid Back Pain on Your Daily Commute

If you feel that you spend too much time commuting, you’re not alone: Most Americans spend an average of several hours a week getting to and from work. Whether you are commuting by car or public transportation, the daily routine can slowly build tension within your back and shoulders. If this pressure builds, it may turn into a lower back pain that makes travel more difficult. While the ergonomics of cars and busses have improved, they still have a long way to go before sitting in them for long stretches of time can be considered “natural” for your body. Until then, here are some tips on how to avoid back pain during your daily commute.

Stretch Before You Leave

Before leaving for your commute, take several minutes to perform some easy stretches that can loosen the stiffness in your shoulders, back, and neck. Finding time between your commute and starting your day job would be even more beneficial, as it gives your muscles an opportunity to shake off the tension.

Customize Your Seat

If you are commuting in your car, you have the opportunity to modify your driver’s seat to make travel a little more comfortable. Small lumbar support items like mesh back covers or
specialized cushions can provide some relief for your lower back. If you take public transport, some of these items are small enough that you can carry them in a bag and place them on your seat. Be sure to wash them afterward!

Avoid Cracked Windows

If you live in a suburban and rural area, you may be tempted to take in some fresh air on your way to work. When doing so, don’t stay around windows that are only open partway through. When the wind or cooler air slices through a small opening, your muscles are more likely to tighten due to the sudden change in temperature. A prolonged period of tension can lead to stiff muscle tissue with less flexibility. In other words, You should keep the window open all the way or completely closed.

Walk When You Can

Most people do not live walking distance from work, but that doesn’t mean you should stop walking altogether. Although it may seem like a hassle at first, arriving at work several minutes earlier so that you can have time to stroll before your start time can help your muscles relax prior to a prolonged period of sitting down. If you live near public transport, another alternative is finding a bus or train route that requires several minutes of walking from the station to the office.

Commuting is necessary for anyone who works outside of home, but it doesn’t mean you should be doomed to suffer lower back pain. If your pain continues to persist after taking such precautions, the source may be more severe than tense muscles. The Spine Institute in New Jersey has helped patients discover and treat the cause of their lower back pain. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.