How To Treat Hip Pain While Driving a Car

I want to share with you how to treat yourself for hip pain while you’re driving your car. I drive for very long distances, often 8-10 hours a day (thank heaven for audio books!).  Because of these long trip I’ve experienced hip pain, sciatica, low back pain, pain along my shin bone, and into my foot.  Have you ever driven for a long time? If you have, I imagine you have also first-hand experience with the pain that comes from sitting for hours, and pressing down on the gas pedal.

We’ll cover some of the other aches and pains of driving in future Pain-Free Living blogs. Today I want to address just hip pain, but first take a look at this video, it will make everything a lot more understandable.

There are so many muscles that originate or insert into your pelvis, that any one of them can be the ultimate source of your hip pain.  I’ve already spoken about the Julstro Protocol in past issues of Pain-Free Living, and today I want to focus on a muscle that I treat frequently while I’m driving.  The muscle is the Piriformis (actually all of the lateral rotators are involved, but mostly the piriformis).

As you can see on this chart, the Piriformis refers pain across your hip, and then down the entire back of your leg and into your foot.  The reason is because this muscle crosses over the sciatic nerve, so when it is tight it is putting pressure directly into your sciatic nerve.

The six lateral rotators all originate on your sacrum and insert into the very top of your thigh bone, so when they are either in spasm, or torqued from the forward rotation of the pelvis as you sit, they are pulling on your thigh bone.  It’s like pulling your hair and your scalp hurts — in this case, the muscle is pulling on your thigh bone, so your hip hurts.

When you are driving the rotation of your pelvis, which is caused by the muscles that pull you into the sitting position, pushes your posterior pelvis right up into your sciatic nerve, and the torque of the rotation is causing the piriformis to press down on your sciatic nerve.  Whether you call the pain sciatic, or simply say hip pain, the source is the same, and the treatment is the same. If you were home you could do the full Julstro Protocol to release all of the muscles, but the simple treatment I’m showing you is still successful at releasing a great deal of the immediate pressure on your sciatic nerve, and your hip.

The “X” is the location of the origination of your piriformis muscle.  Put the ball right on the “X” and sit in your car.  You may need to move the ball a bit after you sit down, you are looking for a tender spot. That is the spasm that is pressing down on your sciatic nerve.

After you are sitting you may also want to move the ball around every 5 minutes or so.  Don’t be pressing directly into a bone, but on the part of the muscle that is right next to the bone, or anywhere along the length of the muscle.  You’ll always know you’re in the right place because it will feel tight, and you’ll probably feel some pain.  Remember, the pain should never go beyond “hurts so good.”

You can also move the ball so your hamstrings are pressing down on the ball.  The two purple circles in the graphic above will be a good guide as to where to place the ball.  You won’t be able to get deep pressure because you’re sitting and the ball is being absorbed into the car seat, but you’ll get enough to make a difference.  As much as is possible (considering you’re driving) straighten your leg (obviously, this works on the left leg, but not on the right leg). This will help to stretch the fibers of your hamstrings.

You can read a lot more about hip pain relief by clicking here. This treatment isn’t deep enough to resolve the problem completely, plus you haven’t treated the muscles of your thigh, etc., so your pelvis is still rotated, but it will give some relief and that’s okay. When you’re driving long distances, any relief is welcome!

Wishing you well,


i place a belt around my hip. I make it pretty tight. That evidently keeps things in place and there is no pain. I do this for every car trip. I just leave the belt in the car, put it on before I start driving and take it off when I get out of the car. Its a miracle.

Julie Donnelly

Julie Donnelly

It’s always interesting to me the things people come up with to prevent/reverse pain. Thanks for sharing your method, I’ll try it the next time I’m on a long trip.

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