back pain

Tips to prevent back pain for long distance commuters

How to Prevent the Back Pain that Occurs Due to travelling?

Even if you travel using public transport or drive to your office, getting tired and having back pain is customary. We have all felt the physical tiredness after a long commute and the urge not to take another step and rather sink into the sofa. It is a proven fact that people who live far away from their workplace are more likely to develop sleep problems and sedentary lifestyles than their counterparts who live closer.

The average commute time of any individual is 44 minutes, and the actual commute time sometimes extends to 90 minutes. According to an article in the Economic Times, individuals working more than 40 hours a week who commute more than half-hour are at 25% higher risk of developing health conditions than others. It also highlights how longer commute hours are inversely related to the productivity of an individual.

back pain

Why does our back hurt?

Whether done in a personal car or on a train or bus, commuting can cause anyone to stay in the same awkward position for hours on end. And for most people, office commutes are hunched backs, slumping forward, and awkwardly bending the neck. This frequently causes pain in the lower back, neck, and, in rare cases, the hips. The combination of poor posture and the inability to stretch during the commute causes significant discomfort for most people. Standing or sitting in the same position for a prolonged period can cause stiffness and lack of blood flow, resulting in back pain.

Tips to prevent Back pain due to commuting.

While commuting to work may not seem like a big deal, long commutes can lead to poor back health and pain. Check out these tips for dealing with commuting-related back pain if you want a pain-free commute.

Use Lumbar support: Longer commute duration means more prolonged time in an uncomfortable position; using lumbar support becomes essential here. It can be as simple as a rolled-up towel or a specially designed support cushion. Just make sure it’s positioned correctly in the small of the back, around the belt level.

Adjust the seat: If you are travelling in your car, you must know that getting as close to the steering wheel as possible will be beneficial without becoming uncomfortable. Being this close prevents hunching over and straining to reach the pedals. Your knees should not be higher than your hips. If you are not driving, try to recline your seat to a 100 or 110-degree angle; this will help relax the back.

Move your body: The endless sitting has to be one of the most unpleasant aspects of a long commute. It’s tedious and, at times, painful, causing back and neck aches. Take stretch breaks whenever possible if you commute by bus or train. And if you can’t stretch, adjust yourself by pulling your belly button to your spine. Or move your toes while you sit.

Watch your Posture: Paying close attention to your posture while driving or sitting in the passenger seat can make a big difference. Place a pillow or other device behind your lower back and relax your shoulders. This may require serious self-control, as most posture is done without conscious awareness.

back pain

Here are a few simple stretches/ Exercises that will help ease back pain.

  • Abdominal Bracing

Sit upright and pull your navel like you want to touch your back. Make sure to breathe while pulling your belly button in. Don’t hold your breath.

Hold your belly for 5 seconds and repeat five times.

This workout is essential to strengthen your core and ease back pain.

  • Chin Tucks 

This is the most accessible stretch. Try to make a double chin while pressing the back of your head into the headrest for the exercise.

Repeat ten times.

This exercise assists in the prevention of neck pain and the improvement of posture.

  • Scapular Retraction/ Shoulder blade stretch 

To perform this exercise, simply pinch your shoulder blades together.

Make sure not to shrug your shoulders while doing so.

Repeat 15 times.

This promotes better posture and removes stiffness from the back.

  • Full body stretch 

Once you are out of your seat, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Intertwine your fingers and then extend your hand up towards the ceiling. If you can balance, get on your toes, stretching your whole body. And then slowly get back into a normal position. Repeat five times.

This will help to reactivate your muscles and decompress the spine.

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