Driving is a Real Pain

…well, it actually isn’t the driving that is the pain, but pain can come from the repetitive strain of sitting for hours. Pain can be caused by your foot pressing on the gas and brake pedals, yet another repetitive strain injury.

This weekend I was up in Cooperstown, NY to visit family and to join the festivities in the town as the new Inductees were honored and brought into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a lot of fun.

Then I started the long drive back to Chapel Hill, NC. I decided that “Susie” (my GPS is becoming my new BFF) was giving me longer directions and that I was going to take a short cut. I imagine in Susie’s little GPS soul she was laughing herself silly as my short cut ended up taking me over the Blue Ridge mountains well after dark, and then through tiny towns (at 35mph) that were totally shut down for the evening. There wasn’t even an open gas station for over two hours. I was thrilled when I finally got to I-85 and was able to go 70mph again. A 10 hour drive turned into a 13 hour drive! So much for short cuts!

Which brings me to how driving causes pains. I was able to use cruise control during the long stretches down I-81, but when I hit construction traffic (for almost two hours at 5-10mph) and then through the mountains and towns, I was back and forth from the gas to the brake a million times (that may be an exaggeration, but it sure felt like a million times). As you press down on the pedals you are contracting the muscles of your calf. As you are resting the heel of your foot on the floor and just bringing up the front of your foot to go from pedal to pedal, you are contracting the tibialis anterior and peroneal muscles on the front and side of your lower leg. I could feel the pain down my shin, on the outside of my leg, and in my arch. My entire right lower leg and foot was hurting

Thank heaven I know how to self-treat it so I did, each time I stopped for gas and even once just stopping on the side of the road to release the tension in the muscles.

I’ve spoken before how sitting is the #1 cause of low back pain, well I sat for almost 13 hours straight (only getting up to get fuel or for nature calls) so my back was almost locked by the time I got home.

Again, I’m glad I know how to work on my quads (the muscles at the front of your thigh) and then stretch my iliopsoas which is the muscle that contracts to bring us to the sitting position.

Today I’m better than I would have been if I hadn’t self-treated while I was traveling, but I definitely feel like I drove for 13 hours yesterday. So I’m off to the YMCA to work on each of the muscles and then follow up by going to the steam room and hot tub to finish off the process. Then, with lots of water, I’ll be as good as new by tonight!

It’s important to know how to self-treat because you just never know when you’re going to have aches and pains that could make your day difficult, and it’s so easy to stop the pain quickly.

Have a great week,


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