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Neck Pain While Driving: Quick Fixes and Treatment

  • 9 min read

Road trips aren't as fun as most people make them out to be, especially if you're the one behind the wheel. You might be sitting down the whole time but it's actually a very stressful position to be in. You're the one dealing with traffic and ignorant drivers. You don't get to sleep as your passengers do, you have to be alert and tense at all times. To top it all off, you get neck pain when you drive. Long-distance driving is a common culprit of neck pain. It not only affects people going on road trips—truckers and cabbies also have a very high risk of suffering from neck pain since they're always behind the wheel.

Driving is physically taxing. If you're always experiencing neck pain while you're driving it's time you find a way to relieve it before it gets any worse. Lucky for you, we know just how to deal with neck pain and by the end of this article, you will too! So keep reading. Our complete guide on how you can relieve neck pain when driving will have you feeling better in no time. We'll cover everything from short-term tips and tricks to long-term treatment of chronic pain. Let's dive in, shall we?

How does Driving Cause Neck Pain?

Before we talk about how you can relieve neck pain, it's best you know what's causing it first. This way you can avoid whatever it is that's causing the pain and relieve it much faster. There are a number of reasons driving can cause neck pain, such as:

Immobility & Lack of support

When you're driving long distances you're stuck in your seat for hours on end. Even if your car is designed to have one of the most comfortable seats of all time, not being able to move around will cause neck pain sooner or later—despite your car's seat design. The longer you're immobile the more strain is put on your spine. This not only affects your neck but can cause shoulder and back pain as well. Some car seats also lack lumbar support, which is the lower back portion of your spine. Without lumbar support, your entire back, shoulder, and neck also have no support.

Stress

Driving is stressful. You probably don't notice it, but we tend to clench our jaws and keep tension in our neck, arms, and shoulders when we're stressed. Intense emotions manifest into physical symptoms. It's just how our body naturally reacts when we're dealing with emotions our mind can't handle on its own. As such, the stress of driving can cause a stiff neck.

Improper seat angle

Any type of vehicle seat is bound to cause neck pain if you've been driving long enough. However, the pain comes much faster when your car seat is at the wrong angle. If you're sitting too far back you most probably end up straining your neck forward. Constantly straining your neck muscles will cause neck pain and overall upper body stiffness.

Car accidents

Major car accidents aren't the only causes of neck pain. Even the most minor fender-benders can cause whiplash and lead to chronic pain. So remember to drive safely and always watch where you're going. Otherwise, a stiff neck will be the least of your worries!

Bad Posture

Major car accidents aren't the only causes of neck pain. Even the most minor fender-benders can cause whiplash and lead to chronic pain. So remember to drive safely and always watch where you're going. Otherwise, a stiff neck will be the least of your worries!

Tips & Tricks for Neck Pain Relief While Driving

If you start to experience neck pain while you're driving it's good to know some of the tips and tricks that can help you get some instant relief. But remember, these are only short-term fixes. If you really want to get rid of neck pain you have to get to the root cause of the problem and utilize a proper long-term approach—which we'll be talking more about later on. Meanwhile, here's what you can do for some temporary pain relief the next time you're experiencing neck pain while long-distance driving:

Practice good driving posture

Maintaining good posture in and out of the car can help get rid of neck pain. A lot of us tend to slouch while driving and this can cause our spine to bend in ways it's not supposed to. The longer you stay in a position like this the more likely for you to experience stiff neck or neck pain. But what exactly is the ideal driving posture? The ideal driving posture should have your arms in a slightly bent relaxed position. You don't want the steering wheel too close to your body that your arms are super bent. But, you also don't want it too far that your arms are straight and locked out either.

Your feet should easily be able to reach the pedals without being too straight or too bent. The seat should support the entirety of your thighs. The headrest should keep your head from rolling backward, and your chin should be parallel to the ground. If your car has adjustable lumbar support, it shouldn't be digging into your lower back. It should only feel like gentle support.

Adjusting the car seat and side mirrors

Ideally, the car seat should be around a 90 to 100-degree angle. But since our bodies are all different, you might have to play around with your seat until you find the perfect angle for you. If you notice that you're straining your neck forward, this would be a good sign to move your seat a bit closer while you're behind the wheel.

Adjusting your side mirrors can also help you from straining your neck. Keep in mind that when you're driving you should never have to move your head completely. Your mirrors should be visible just by looking with your eyes - keeping your neck and shoulder in alignment. You'll know your mirrors are positioned properly if you can see what's in all three of your mirrors through a simple glance left, right, and up.

Change your hand position

In driving school, we're taught to always keep our hands in a 10 to 2 position. This is probably the safest hand position. And, it does make it easier to maneuver the steering wheel when you're turning corners or parking your car. But for long drives, where you aren't making too many turns, we actually suggest making a slight adjustment to help avoid neck and shoulder pain. It's much better to have your hands positioned on the steering wheel at an 8 to 4 position. Having your hands on the lower portion of the steering wheel can relieve tension on your neck and shoulder blades.

Try to relax while driving

Like we said earlier, we tend to be under a lot of stress while driving and this causes more tension in our bodies. When you feel yourself starting to get a bit antsy or you feel a bit of road rage building inside of you, try to make a mental note of it and force yourself to relax. Loosen up your shoulders and your neck, let go of the tension in your arms and in your jaw. Put on some music, hydrate, and eat a snack. Stress is also often brought about by a lack of energy, so keeping yourself hydrated and fed can help you gain a little more stamina when you're driving long distances.

Purchase a lumbar support pillow

If you suffer from back pain along with your neck pain, it's likely due to lack of lumbar support. This causes the muscles supporting the spine to flare up. Some cars offer lumbar support, but if your car doesn't, you can always find some lumbar support pillows online. A lumbar support pillow is great for keeping your lower back muscles from straining and having to do much work. If you're always slouching, this can also help your lumbar spine adjust into its natural curve again. You'll effectively eliminate any sign of back pain!

Make use of cruise control

Cruise control isn't only great for saving more fuel and avoiding going over the speed limit. It actually helps make long drives more comfortable for you. No, this doesn't mean you should keep your eyes off the road. You obviously still need to move the steering wheel. What it does do, however, is allow you to rest your leg. You aren't stuck with your foot stepping on the accelerator all the time. This will allow you to rest both your feet flat on the floor and maintain that ideal driving posture.

Take breaks

This is probably the best tip of all when it comes to neck, back, or shoulder pain from driving. Remember to take regular breaks when you're driving long distances. Stop at a gas station and use this time to stretch out your legs and move around a bit. Sitting in a fixed position for a long time can mess up your blood flow which also makes you feel more tired. So whenever you get the chance to make a pit stop make the most out of it.

 

The Root Cause of Neck Pain and How You Can Fix It

People can suffer from neck pain due to a plethora of reasons. Long-distance driving is just one of many. Although there are solutions to help relieve the pain from long-distance driving—such as the tips and tricks we mentioned above—these are actually just band-aid solutions that don't really address the root cause. These tips and tricks are great as short-term fixes and provide us with temporary pain relief. But the longer you ignore the root cause of your neck pain, the worse it will get. And eventually, these quick fixes will stop working. If you want to prevent your neck pain from getting any worse, you have to address the root cause of it all—having a weak, immobile neck.

 

How Neck Training Can Get Rid of Neck Pain

The neck muscles are one of the most important muscles in our body, and yet, it's also the most undervalued. They're responsible for stabilizing our spine, carrying the weight of our head, and even acting as a shock absorber. But just like any other muscle in our body, if you don't take steps to strengthen your neck muscles, they can atrophy and waste away. This can cause a ton of problems such as headaches, fatigue, poor spinal alignment, and of course, neck pain. Having a weak neck is the underlying cause of all your neck pain, and the only way to get rid of all your neck pain is by making your neck stronger. How? By neck training, of course. If neck training is something new to you, well, get with the program! The muscles in our neck play a huge role in our day-to-day activities. And if you happen to be an athlete, you should know it also affects your athletic performance and can do wonders for injury prevention.

Improving our neck strength not only makes our life more comfortable by getting rid of neck, back, and shoulder pain. It also helps improve our overall posture, decrease our chances of getting a concussion, and increase our mobility, among other things. Ask any physical therapist, and they'll tell you the exact same thing. If you take the time to research neck training exercises, your first impression might be that it looks pretty odd. We agree. That's probably the reason why a lot of people tend to avoid doing neck exercises in the first place. But don't shy away from it just yet. Trust us, or even ask your physical therapist—they'll tell you just how essential neck exercises can be, especially if you've been experiencing neck pain for a while. The training will definitely be worth it.

 

Say Goodbye to Weak Necks and Neck Pain When You Train With the Iron Neck!

Ready to include neck exercises into your regular strength training program? Take your neck training sessions to the next level with the Iron Neck Training Equipment. The Iron Neck is the world's #1 neck strengthener. Hundreds of professional athletes and physical therapists around the globe use the Iron Neck. Its unique and innovative features, such as the 360 degrees rotational movement, allow you to get more out of your neck training, while its AirFit system allows for a custom fit and sits on your head perfectly.

Neck training isn't actually a new concept. It has been practiced for hundreds of years, specifically to help rehabilitate those who suffer from neck injuries. And for the longest time, physical therapists have been using resistance bands and medicine balls to assist with neck exercises. But despite being effective tools for neck strengthening, they don't allow you to utilize the same parts of your neck as the Iron Neck would.

With the help of the Iron Neck, you get more dynamic and functional neck training. It not only allows you to do linear resistance as you would with resistance bands and medicine balls. It even allows rotational resistance that helps to target every single muscle in your neck and even some muscles in your upper back and core. Using the Iron Neck will ultimately help improve your mobility, range of motion, reduce the risk of concussion, and get rid of your neck, back, and shoulder pain.

We also offer other neck training essentials, such as our neck weight harnesses and resistance bands that you can use as additional training equipment with your current Iron Neck model. They are also perfect for beginner neck exercises so they can be used as an introduction to neck training if you still find the Iron Neck intimidating.

 

Improve Overall Strength with Our Training Equipment!

Although our brand is known for producing the world's best neck training equipment, we also value our customers' overall health and physical fitness. This is why we created our own collection of resistance training equipment. If you want to work on your full-body strength training, our resistance bars, handles, and straps are perfect for both home and gym resistance workouts. All of our equipment is fully portable, so you can bring your training essentials with you anywhere you go and train at any time. Are you tired of suffering from chronic neck pain? Begin your journey to a pain-free life with the help of the Iron Neck. Never complain about neck pain while you're driving, ever again!