Linda’s back and hip hurt.  Here’s what she told me:

“I drive for a living.  Drive up to 10 hrs a day, my hip & back hurt nearly all the time.  I am 51 years old.  My hip (I think it’s the iliopsoas, but my rehab guy says tight quadriceps)… anyway that little muscle will go into spasm and it’s quite miserable.”

Here is what I told Linda:

I’m thinking that your seat may be not quite close enough to the wheel.  That would cause you to strain the upper back muscles.

Additionally, it causes less upper back strain if you hold the wheel at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock rather than higher.

And if there isn’t a lumbar support that fits you, you can make one from a folded hand towel or create a  “pillow” from a batt of fiberfill.  Get it at a fabric store or KMart and fold it to where it feels good for you.

You can put it into a pillow case or not.  Make a few different sizes and you can switch as the day  goes on.  Muscles like to be in a lot of different positions.  Sometimes use a lumbar support, sometimes not.  It goes behind your natural waist.

Both you and your rehab guy could be right about the muscles involved.  Tell me the really specific location of your hip pain and I can give you more ideas.

Is it actually AT the hip joint on the side of the upper leg?  More in the buttocks?  Which part?

When you sit all day long the front of your leg muscles will get short and tight and that includes both iliopsoas and quads and the medial (inner thigh)  muscles.

The more information (clues) that I have about symptoms, the better job I can do of long-distance assessing to help you get rid of a back or hip pain problem.

But I do know this:  The muscles that need to be stretched are all in the front of your body from knees to neck and that includes the quadriceps and iliopsoas.   And a tight iliopsoas will cause lower back pain.

Stretching the muscles in the front of your body and strengthening the back muscles, as well as using appropriate props like lumbar supports when needed, will help you get your muscles back in balance and get rid of your hip pain and back pain naturally.


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6 Comments on Does Driving Cause Back Pain?

  1. Becky says:

    I also been having sacral, right hip flexor AND inguinal ligament pain for months now. I had a negative MRI. I also drive a lot for my job, probably around 300-500 a week. I am currently seeing a physical therapist who is concentrating on the flexor and the ligament with deep massage and stretches. It seems to help, temporarily but so does the TENS unit. I don’t know what I am doing wrong with how I am driving. I don’t slouch to one side. I try to change seat positions at least 2 times a day. I’m wondering if it because I constantly use that right leg driving (I work in rural areas, cruise control is not an option). My left side has no pain. I’m just afraid that this is always going to be and I may end up having to find a new job (I really like my job.. but hate the pain). Any thoughts?

  2. Hi Becky,

    Here are my best long-distance thoughts:

    1. Change seat positions even more frequently. Use a lumbar support, pillow or folded hand towel behind your waist. Change the support and thickness of it frequently Yes, it could be because of always using the same leg. Is it possible to move your seat closer so you stretch less?

    2. There are muscles around your spine that can cause pain in the areas you describe. If the treatment to the front of your body doesn’t help for long that could be a good indication that the spinal erectors or multifidi are involved. They can be released or relaxed manually (by hand–massage.) It could also indicate that you are doing an aggravating factor that you have not yet considered.

    3. Perhaps it is the iliopsoas muscle. That attaches to your thigh bone, hip bone and spine. The therapist may be treating this already with finger pressure? Also, look to the muscles in your gluteal (buttock) area.

    4. The abdominals and quadriceps can also cause symptoms in the area of your concern.

    Becky, I hope this helps you feel better and get rid of the pain in your right hip.

    The Pain Relief Coach

  3. Becky says:

    Thank you Kathryn,

    One more question, with pain like I’m explaining and through your experience, do you feel, with therapy, etc, that I will someday be without pain?

    This pain is wearing me thin

  4. Hi Becky, Bodies heal all the time. Sometimes they just need a little more thought and help from the owner or someone else to get better.

    I have seen people feel much, much better after appropriate therapy and self-care. The thought just came to me: What would you think about taking a yoga class?

    Pain does wear on a person. But bodies are pretty smart. Once you take the stresses off a body and give it what it needs, a body can heal. I do feel that you can heal and will get rid of this annoying pain in your hip and surrounding area.

    Also…Do you tuck your tail bone all the way back into the seat where it meets the back of the seat? 🙂 Or are you sitting on your tail bone? 🙁

    The Pain Relief Coach

  5. Becky says:

    I do tuck it in.. The terrible part is I can feel the vibration of my tailbone to my lumbar region while driving. I have a lumbar support but it doesn’t stop the vibrating feeling. Is there such thing as a cushion that absorbs the vibrations in your back while driving? I’m really at the end of my rope 🙁

  6. Hi Becky,

    I do not know if there is such a thing as a cushion to stop the vibrating.

    But I do know there are seat cushions that have the tail bone area cut out so there is no pressure on the tail bone. If you Google ‘ tail bone cushions ‘ you will be able to find some at places like Amazon and Foot Smart. That seems like it could take care of the vibrations in your tail bone.

    And perhaps a softer lumbar support would be more helpful in absorbing the vibrations rather than transmitting them. If you Google ‘ truck driver seat cushion ‘ you might find something effective there. There seem to be lots of search results for that.

    Tie a knot and hang on, Becky! 🙂

    The Pain Relief Coach