Most of us have experienced some discomfort or even pain from not having enough money, but did you know that having too much money could cause pain and maybe even lead to the need for minimally invasive spine surgery! Yes, that’s right…. an overstuffed wallet, lodged in your back pants pocket while driving on a long road trip, can trigger sciatic nerve pain.
It’s the season for long weekends and one of the most popular American traditions: the family road trip. Whether you’re heading out to the shore, across the country or off to a graduation weekend, you will be spending countless hours sitting in your car and subjecting your spine to excessive stress. One of worst irritants to your low back is the wallet in your back pocket.
First, the pressure of the wallet on your sciatic nerve may cause pain from compression and irritation. Second, the spinal imbalance from sitting in a lopsided position may lead to muscle strain or worse, in your low back. These conditions often resolve with time, movement, heat and cold therapy and over the counter medications. However, if the pain worsens, it may be necessary, after exhausting conservative treatments, including physical therapy, to undergo minimally invasive spine surgery.
The following are some helpful tips for back-healthy driving and avoiding sciatic nerve pain:
- Take your wallet and keys out of your pockets and place them in glove compartment for the drive.
- Set your driver’s seat upright to avoiding slouching and maintain proper support for you head, neck and back against the seat.
- Your seat should be close enough to the steering wheel so that your arms reach comfortably and flex slightly.
- If your seat is slippery or bucket style, causing you to slump into the seat over time, consider sitting on a firm seat cushion to stabilize your pelvis and protect your spine.
- Slightly adjust your seat or position every 15-20 minutes to avoid stiffness and tension from setting in.
- Most importantly, take frequent ‘stretch and move’ breaks at rest stops along the route.
With these tips, which will become healthy habits in no time… you should be able to ward off the need for minimally invasive spine surgery and enjoy pain-free family road trips throughout this summer season.