Travel Tips to Relieve Back Pain When Driving a Car

By Dr. Paul Calladine

Please phone (02) 9819 6182

7 tips for back pain while driving

There are many actions or activities that can trigger lower back pain. Sitting for prolonged periods of time and driving cars are two that spring to mind.


As a chiropractor, many of the problems patients see me about arise from poor posture habits, sedentary office work or long commutes to and from work.


If you’ve ever though about it, it’s amazing to realise just how much time we sit for during the day. Watch this short video now and see how long you may sit for during a typical day.


A recent study1 looked at the association between ‘whole-body vibration’ (experienced by driving heavier vehicles) and the risk of lower back pain. The study concluded, ‘this review shows that there is scientific evidence that exposure to whole-body vibration increases the risk of lower back pain and sciatica.’


There are many factors that contribute to lower back pain when driving, including whole-body vibration, forward tilted hips, slouching, muscle fatigue, long periods of inactivity and sitting in a cramped and unnatural way.

7 Tips to Relieve Back Pain When Driving

Here are my top 7 tips for minimising lower back pain when traveling in cars (save or print this article, and take it with you on your next holiday).


  • Remove everything from you back pockets.

Wallets, phones and other items can cause posture imbalances if sat on, throwing your spine and hips out of alignment.

  • Stretch before a long trip.

It may sound silly, however a good stretch right before a long car trip may just make all the difference. Focus on the muscles around your lower back, your hips, groin, thighs, hamstrings and the psoas muscle.

  • Adjust the seat to the best possible ergonomic position.

Ask me about the best position and height for your car seat. Make sure the seat offers you lumbar sacral (lower back) support. If it doesn’t, it’s a good idea to travel with a thin pillow or a small rolled up towel to support your lower back. This is a great tip when flying on a plane as well.

  • Back into the car if you have severe lower back pain.

Gently back in (bum first) to sit down, and then rotate both legs at the same time to get them inside the car.

  • Stop for a break every 2 hours.

This avoids fatigue, gives you a chance to stretch and walk around a few minutes.

  • Use cruise control where applicable.

The benefit is that your right leg is not held in the same position on the accelerator for prolonged periods.

  • Pack heavy luggage using two people.

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Choose Chiropractic for Back Pain Relief

Chiropractic commonly helps in cases of back pain. Chiropractors are your spinal health professionals and can advise you on posture, ergonomics, fitness, exercise and more. If driving a car causes you back pain, this may be a sign that you need a spine check-up. Learn more about how chiropractors help in cases of back pain here.


Dr. Paul Calladine (Chiropractor) has over two decades of experience in caring for the local community.


To book your chiropractic check-up please call the clinic now on (02) 9819 6182.


Alternatively, you can book your new patient consultation using the button below.

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  1. Burström L, Nilsson T, Wahlström J. Whole-body vibration and the risk of low back pain and sciatica: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2015 May;88(4):403-18. doi: 10.1007/s00420-014-0971-4. Epub 2014 Aug 21. Link:

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