Dealing with chronic pain and living on the road is not easy. Beyond struggling with fatigue and being away from family, many travelers and drivers have a hard time finding time for exercise.
But sitting long hours without doing counteractive activities puts a lot of strain on your body – particularly the back. Consequently, many travelers and truck drivers develop chronic back pain.
One of the most effective ways to find relief from chronic back pain is yoga. Yoga is suitable for all levels, easy to do anywhere, and relaxes your body and mind.
If you do not have a yoga mat, you can still practice yoga while you are traveling. There are dozens of stretches and poses you can do right from your truck or car’s seat.
Signs And Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Nearly every person on earth will experience back pain at least once in their lives. But for those who sit long hours, the pain soon develops into a chronic condition.
Here are some common symptoms of chronic back pain:
– A continuous dull ache
– Pain that moves down to the hips and legs
– Limited mobility
– Pain that gets worse with sitting
– Pain that decreases when moving or changing positions
– Pain that persists for more than three months
Although most people with chronic back pain have similar symptoms, the causes can significantly differ.
What causes back pain?
There are many causes of chronic back pain. The cause can impact what you should and shouldn’t do in your yoga practice.
Here are the most common causes of chronic back pain:
Muscle Strains And Imbalances
Frequent travelers can experience a strain due to prolonged pressure to their lower back while sitting. When one muscle is strained, the others take over, which creates a muscle imbalance that further aggravates back pain.
Herniated Or Bulging Discs
As we age or with prolonged stress on the spine, we can develop bulging or herniated disks.
Bulging disk happens when the disc loses its fluid. It becomes compressed, and this causes sharp pain. A herniated disk breaks through the outer layer and presses on the nearby nerve roots. A bulging disc causes uncomfortable pain but also can cause weakness and numbness.
Other Issues In The Spine
There are many other reasons why you can develop chronic back pain. For example, you may be born with or have developed a deformity, such as kyphosis or scoliosis.
Kyphosis is when your upper back is hunched, pushing your head forward and causing strain along the spine. Long term sitting can equally cause this, so it is vital to be aware of good posture and stretch regularly.
Scoliosis is when the spine curves to the right or left. It may be slight by just a few degrees, but for others, when not taken seriously, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Many people have found relief from these conditions in yoga. Still, it’s of the highest importance to be correctly diagnosed before you start your practice. Ensure that you seek educated guidance from a teacher or guide who has the experience, understands the body, and will take the time to explain the how’s and why’s to you. Seeking a skilled professional will ensure safety while practicing and a deeper understanding of your own body.
How Yoga Helps Drivers With Chronic Back Pain?
Yoga is a clinically backed method for combating chronic back pain.
It increases muscle strength, especially in the torso. As you develop a stronger back, core, and chest, you will maintain a healthy posture.
Yoga also increases your range of motion. Lack of flexibility is a frequent cause of back pain and is a common concern in those who travel a lot.
Finally, yoga calms you down and helps you to manage stress better. Beyond being problematic on its own, stress can further aggravate chronic back pain.
If you never practiced yoga, it would be best to start with a studio class when you can, then take what you learned to start your self-practice on the road.
How to Practice Yoga On The Road?
One of the best things about yoga is that you can do it anywhere.
Traditional yoga requires you to have a flat surface and a mat, but there are also some poses you can do in your seat. If you’re interested in those – lookup chair yoga poses.
Here are additional tips to prepare you for practicing on the go:
– Have a bag with everything you need – pack comfortable workout clothes, a yoga mat, and maybe some props like straps and blocks. No time or space for a yoga bag? No problem. You can do many stretches in your jeans and boots and use things you have like a towel or belt as a strap.
– Schedule your practice – we are more likely to do something if it’s in our schedule. Try to designate at least 10 minutes for your sessions every day. Every little bit adds up. A stretch here, a pose there. Don’t be caught in the mindset of needed to designate a block out 30 or 60 minutes to exercise each day. The most important thing is to do something.
– Find online videos, like our platform designed perfectly for truck drivers and anyone else who lives on the road. Our easy-to-access online membership site is full of short, easy-to-follow videos showing you how to stretch, move and breathe right from the driver’s seat, sleeper, and right outside the cab of your truck or vehicle. Especially in the beginning having an educated teacher to guide you on video ensure that you do the stretches and poses safely and correctly.
– Pack your pain relief cream, don’t forget to apply a soothing topical pain relief cream to those muscles that you have now woken up. A stiff body can feel like a glow stick cracked open to using when you start stretching again. The body has become stiff and can appear a bit sore after you first begin. Using a pain relief cream can help reduce the discomfort of your new routine if your muscles get a little cranky.
Check out some of our other great content: Neck Pain: 7 Ways to Drive Pain-Free