Driving with a herniated disc can be one of the most miserable activities, regardless of where the disc condition exists in the spine. Driving requires extensive periods of seated posture, which often turns out to be a real ordeal for many patients with a herniated disc in the lower back. Additionally, driving requires constant head movement, which can spell disaster for anyone with a herniated disc in the neck. Many of us find the type of grueling driving we must do each and every day to be a real challenge, given our pain.
I have corresponded with literally thousands of patients who cite driving as one of their most dreaded of all activities. It is no surprise that the majority of these people had to drive extensively every day for stressful work or family obligations. This is very telling.
This article will look at the mind and body effects of driving with herniated disc pain.
Driving is a stressful situation for many people. Driving is also closely linked to other sources of stress, such as work or family responsibilities. It should be no surprise that the emotionally-charged environment of driving might elicit back pain in many patients; since the majority of all chronic herniated disc pain demonstrates a contributory psychological component.
Driving puts physical stress on your body, creating a particularly cruel form of sitting herniated disc pain for lumbar disc sufferers. It also creates repetitive head motions which can really cause some serious neck pain in patients with a cervical disc condition.
I can say for sure that I disliked driving in the past. I could not sit comfortably for long and had lost much of the comfortable range of motion in my neck. Things are much better now, but trust me; I empathize with what you are going through.
Most people can not simply stop driving. They must find some way to cope with their pain and minimize time spent in the car seat. However, this is not always possible or practical for many herniated disc patients.
Remember that sitting is not inherently bad for the back and herniated discs do not usually cause chronic pain. Sitting is a natural posture for humans and herniations are a virtually expected part of normal spinal aging. Why then do so many people suffer pain while driving?
Well, as previously mentioned, the mindbody interactions experienced while driving are often very emotionally-charged. Ischemia is known to worsen when patients sit or lie down, which helps to explain why so many people suffer worse symptomatic expressions in positions which should be restful and relaxing. It is crucial to understand that in the majority of patients who experience driving-related pain, there may be a combination of mind and body circumstances which might be to blame.
Driving is always going to be a source of stress in your life. Traffic, road rage, bad drivers, poorly kept roads and mechanical breakdowns are par for the course. Learning to understand the inner workings of the mind and how they can create back pain is the best universal solution. After all, you can't just change your spinal anatomy without drastic and risky surgery, so start with what you can change. Forget about adjusting that car seat ad nauseum. Does it ever really help anyway? No.
I recommend knowledge therapy as a valuable treatment addition for most patients with chronic pain of any variety or location. Driving-related back and neck ache is a strong indicator of an emotional component to the suffering. Accepting this connection is half the battle and curing the pain might be easier than you once thought, once this emotional link is comprehended at a deeper level.
For patients with verifiable structurally-based neurological reasons for pain, consult with your physical therapist to discover the best driving profile for your needs. You may have to change the way you sit or even the type of vehicle you drive, but usually, there are physical alterations which can make things better until you can achieve a lasting cure.