Whether you're on a long road trip or just navigating rush hour traffic, spending extended amounts of time behind the wheel can cause back pain. Sitting for long periods anywhere can lead to stiffness and discomfort in the lower back, but the static position and tendency toward poor posture while driving can make it even worse. Fortunately, making some adjustments to the driver's seat and your habits can help prevent ongoing pain.

How to Drive Without Back Pain 

1. Position the Seat Correctly 

Many people develop driving-related back pain because the seat is too far back from the wheel. Positioning your body too far back causes you to reach for the wheel, straining the back muscles. 

Your seat should be positioned so you can keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle when holding the wheel. Avoid reclining too far back, as well. The seat should be positioned at about 100 degrees, which allows you to comfortably reach the wheel while keeping your head flat against the headrest. 

back pain

2. Take Breaks 

If you're on a long trip, take frequent breaks. Stopping at least every two to three hours can help reduce back pain and give you a boost of energy to keep driving. 

Walking around for even just a few minutes can help boost circulation and reduce tension, too. Do a few simple stretches to release tight muscles and relieve stiffness. 

3. Support Your Legs 

When you're sitting in a desk chair with your feet on the floor, your legs help support your back. When you are driving, though, your feet and legs are busy working the pedals, which can strain the lower vertebrae and contribute to back pain. 

Sitting with your back against the seat so it supports the full length of your thighs helps reduce this pressure. Keeping your left foot on the floor and your legs bent at a 90-degree angle also helps stabilize your back. If you're using cruise control, put both feet flat on the floor to help support your back. 


If an accident exacerbates your back pain, make an appointment with Accident Doctors. With locations in Mesa, Phoenix, and Gilbert, AZ, their team of doctors can treat pain and other car accident -related injuries, getting you on track to a full recovery. In addition to high-quality medical care, they offer personal injury attorney referrals when necessary. Call (602) 632-0000 to request an appointment, or visit them online to learn more about their services.