Do you do a lot of traveling? I feel like I”m always in my car, and most of the time it’s for long trips. Last week I drove from Chapel Hill, NC to New York, then to Charleston, SC, and then back to Chapel Hill — over 2000 miles in one week. Then on Thursday I drove from Chapel Hill to a tiny town in West Virginia (an hour north of Charleston). That 7 hour trip was almost 1000 miles round trip…whew!
Sitting for so many hours causes low back pain, hip pain, and if you don’t have cruise control for the long highway portions of your trip, you’ll also have pain along your shinbone of your right leg and in your right ankle.
In my case, my left ankle is still healing from the broken bones I had back in December, so I also had stiffness in my left ankle. What to do??
First of all, bring either a new tennis ball or a Julstro Perfect Ball with you. You can place the ball at your low back, next to your spine and above your hip bone (pelvis). This muscle is tightening as you are sitting, and they are pulling on your lumbar vertebrae. It feels good to have the pressure on the muscle and releases the tension and also draws blood into the area.
Another thing that feels good while driving is to put the ball so it is pressing into your hamstrings. You may need to have some type of seat cover, such as one made in rattan so the ball won’t sink into your seat. I put the ball into a long sock so I can drape it over my shoulder and place the ball exactly where I’m feeling tightness in my back, and then just lean back into it.
When I stop for gas and coffee, I’ll take my 12″ length of PVC pipe and first release the spasms in my quadriceps by sliding the PVC pipe from the top of my leg to my knee, and then while the gas is pumping I do a good stretch for my iliopsoas (the muscle that pulls you into the sitting position). You do the stretch by holding your hips still and then leaning back from above your waistline. However, it will feel like a pain in your low back, but this is because the muscle being stretched in on the front of your lumbar vertebrae, not in the back. Try it, when you don’t move your hips you’ll find that you are getting a much better stretch of your low back and it will feel really good!
If you already have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living, you can read all about low back pain in Chapter 11 – Oh My Aching Back! and then find the 13 step Julstro Protocol listing the order of low back/hip/sciatic/knee treatments on page 132. Thousands of people have done the Julstro Protocol and been able to get relief for low back pain, I believe you can too.
When you get to where you are going, spend a few minutes really working on your quadriceps, your hip muscles, posterior low back muscles, do the stretch mentioned above and then treat your hamstrings.
Tomorrow I’ll explain what to do if your lower leg is hurting from all the driving.
I’m happy to say that I’m staying here in Chapel Hill until mid-May, then it’s back to New York and then back home to Texas for a nice long visit. Thank heaven for books on CD…and for self-treatments!
Have a great weekend,