No matter what you do for a living, chances are you spend a fair amount of time in your car. Whether you commute to work, or have a position that keeps you seated in your car for the better part of your day, our cars become somewhat of a second home and office for many of us.
Countless hours in our automobile can be enjoyable if we love being on the road, outdoors, or listening to podcasts and music. However, if you’re beginning to experience pain when seated in your car, things can get ugly really fast.
If your job involves a lot of driving, you should be taking a fifteen minute standing break every two hours. If you just laughed out loud at the thought of actually having the time to take a break, we understand. Although it would be ideal for everyone to be able to do this, and it might even help alleviate much of your back pain, schedules are jammed tighter than they ever have been, so finding the time to stand up for fifteen minutes every two hours during your day may be a bit idealistic.
When back, hip, and leg pain start, what do most of us do? We reach for an over-the-counter-pain reliever and try to forget about it. Unfortunately, we can end up taking more pain relievers than we realize. Taking over-the-counter-pain relievers can have damaging effects to our bodies over time, and even some significant effects in the short term. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may cause:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) issues. From indigestion, to nausea and diarrhea, NSAID pain relievers can be hard on the stomach and entire GI tract, so much so they may not be a good option for some people.
- Headaches. A side effect of taking NSAIDs can also be the development of headaches, which can seem counterproductive when taking an NSAID in the first place.
- Dizziness. Some NSAIDs even have a warning expressly stated on their packaging that the medication can cause dizziness; an unacceptable side effect for someone who will be operating a car all day.
If you’re tired of using pain relievers and still suffering from pain when driving, we’ve got great news. You can alleviate back, hip, and leg pain caused by being seated in your car by simply using an ergonomically designed car seat cushion.
First, let’s look at what is causing the pain you experience when sitting in your car, and how a car seat cushion can help to alleviate the pain.
What Causes Pain from Sitting in a Car?
If you’re able to sit at a desk all day without experiencing back, hip, or leg pain it may frustrate and confuse you when you experience pain while driving or sitting in the car. It’s essentially the same, right? In fact, chances are you may even feel more comfortable in your car than you do sitting in a hard backed office chair.
However, the two experiences are actually very different.
When you are seated in a chair in your office, you are stationary; your body isn’t being moved and forced to rebalance and stabilize like it is when you are riding in a car. The pain you experience when seated in a car over extended periods of time comes from the constant motion of the car as you ride or drive. This motion causes your body to make micro-adjustments to stay in the same position, which can lead to lumbar fatigue, especially if you have poor core muscle engagement.
Additionally, driving in a car places excess load on your lumbar spine. When you hit bumps and turns in the road, the load on your lumbar spine increases, and over time this pressure can produce pain. This is referred to as whole body vibration. This vibration can put someone who drives for a living at twice the risk for developing sciatica and other low back and lumbar spine related problems than someone who does not drive for a living.
If you are experiencing pain when driving and are actively looking for holistic methods of pain management, you should consider getting an ergonomically designed seat cushion to use when you are driving.
How Can A Cushion Alleviate Pain?
We know what you’re thinking: How can a seat cushion alleviate pain? Or maybe you’ve tried seat cushions in the past and did not feel like they gave you any real, lasting pain relief. Our theory is, you just didn’t try the right cushion. The right cushion can make all the difference and can alleviate the pain you experience when driving. Here’s how.
Because the pain you experience is the result of whole body vibration compounded with extra load on the lumbar spine, any amount of stability you can place between yourself and the car will help your body experience less of these effects and therefore less pain over time. Car seat cushions:
- Keeps you more stable. Car seat cushions position themselves between you and your car’s seat to provide support and keep you more stable while you are seated. This means your body will experience less shock and vibration from the road, because much of the vibration will be absorbed by the seat cushion.
- Prevents the need for micro-adjustments. When you are seated on a proper seat cushion, that resists sliding and skidding, your body will be able to keep in position better without having to use your core to stabilize you. The less you experience micro adjustments, the less tense the muscles in your back and core will be, which can help ease pain and discomfort.
- A cushion keeps you seated with good posture. Many of us are guilty of sitting in our cars with very poor posture, and if you are experiencing back, hip, and leg pain, you may be more inclined to sit improperly to accommodate the areas of your body that hurt. Over time, this has a negative effect on your spine, and will lead to increased pain.
A seat cushion, especially a lumbar support cushion, helps keep your legs and hips aligned properly, which will also help keep your spine upright and hold your body in better posture.
- A cushion provides care for your sit bones. Your coccyx may become sore from sitting for hours on end, and this can lead to compensation by hunching, sitting to one side, and other poor posture habits. If you are seated on a car seat cushion, your sit bones will not experience pain from a hard car seat and you’ll likely sit with better posture.
What Should you Look for in a Car Cushion?
Not just any car seat cushion will give you relief from pain. There are several factors you’ll find in the best seat cushion for your car:
- Gel-infused memory foam. These types of car seat cushions are best for usage in a car. Memory foam gel molds to the shape of your body and provides just enough cushion to keep you comfortable without squishing down and flattening out. When you get up, the cushion takes its original shape until you sit down once more.
- Breathability. If your seat cushion is not breathable, you won’t want to sit on it. It’s important you look for fabric that provides good ventilation and offers a cooling effect when you are seated.
- Orthopedic and ergonomic design. Any company can manufacture a car seat cushion, but if you really want a high-quality cushion, you will look for one that is orthopedic recommended and ergonomically designed to keep your body in perfect posture while you drive.
- No-slip bottom. If you’ve ever used an inexpensive car seat cushion you know that it can slip right out from under you the second you sit on it. These cushions provide very little support and shift around while you are driving. Look for cushions that have no-slip bottoms with rubber grips.
- Easy care. Your car seat cushion is going to see a lot of usage. As such, it’s important you are able to clean and care for it promptly and easily when needed. Make sure your seat cushion has a removable cover that is machine washable and dryable, which makes cleaning and refreshing your seat cushion a breeze.
- Company and warranty. Lastly, when shopping for a high-quality car seat cushion, look for a reputable company that backs the products they sell with a warranty. Offering a warranty is a way a company can earn your trust and deliver on the promise of their products.
You may think you will spend a lot of money on a car seat cushion that meets these high standards, but that is not the case. You can get a great car seat cushion that is durable and backed with a warranty for a very reasonable price. A car seat cushion can mean the difference between enjoying a job on the road or a lengthy car trip and being completely miserable the entire time.
If you are experiencing pain in your legs, hips, or low back, the use of a car seat cushion can help alleviate your pain and give you relief so you can enjoy your time in the car once more.