Tips for Driving with Sciatic Nerve Pain

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Driving with sciatic nerve pain
Photo by Art Markiv on Unsplash

Driving with sciatic nerve pain is no fun at all, I can definitely attest to that.  I have been dealing with back problems for many years and driving has been a tough thing to do at times. I will run through some of my history and then talk about some of the things I do that help.

About me

You can check out my complete story here.  My back problems started in 1999 with numbness in my lower right leg. After months of trying different treatment options, I ended up having surgery, which I regret to this day.

I have dealt with many setbacks over the years, so surgery was not a long-term fix for me.  I am a lot more careful now with how I treat my body and am finding alternative ways to deal with my back problems.

Given all of this though, I still experience pain when I am driving, especially long distances.

Driving with sciatic nerve pain

Driving with pain in my lower leg has always been a challenge and at times has been almost unbearable for me.  In 2009 I started having pain in my lower leg again, sciatic nerve pain.  I went to a pain clinic and as you might have guessed, was prescribed painkillers.

Driving became difficult for me during this time, dealing with sciatica pain down my leg.  It was really hard to find a position that was somewhat bearable but would still allow me to drive.  I had to get creative! Eventually, several months later the pain just disappeared.

In 2011, was the first time I have ever heard or felt a “pop” in my lower back. I picked up my 5-year-old daughter and Wham-O, there went a disc.  I have a 45 minute (roughly) commute to work and there were times when I was driving that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it because the pain was so intense.

My wife and I have a commuter car as well as a pickup and I tried driving each of them to see I would be more comfortable.  It didn’t matter which vehicle I drove, the pain was horrible either way.

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Even to this day, there are times when I get in the car and something triggers my sciatic pain and it sucks.

Helping you drive with sciatic nerve pain

Here are some of the things that help me out when I am on the road and pain strikes.

  • Use cruise control

If cruise control is an option for you, like freeway driving, I have found this to be a good option.  Yes, I know I need to have my foot ready to apply the break, but if you experience pain in your right leg as I do, cruise control allows me a little bit of freedom to get comfortable.  I can change my leg position, and I also don’t have to have my foot on the gas pedal.

If this is an option for you, give it a shot. Of course, this will depend on the kind of traffic you are driving in, and whether it stop and go.

  • Buy a lumbar support

The knob for manually adjustable lumbar support in the driver seat of my truck broke several years ago.  I didn’t realize how much this lack of back support was affecting me.  I purchased a lumbar support cushion recently and I don’t know how I got along without it before now.

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A lumbar support helps to maintain the natural curve of my lumbar spine and it really feels nice, especially since I have been used to no support at all.

  • Take a break if you can

Depending on where you are driving, taking a break may or may not be an option.  If you are in heavy rush hour traffic, probably not happening.  If you are on a long road trip, you might be able to pull over every so often. This can give you an opportunity to change your posture and this may give you some much-need pain relief.  Any relief is good in my opinion.

  • Make micro adjustments

I do this a lot when I am driving as I always looking for a more comfortable way to sit.  Sliding slightly to the left, or right in my seat can sometimes help.  Leaning more to one side or the other, literally putting more pressure on one butt cheek and then switching.  Any of these micro-movements can offer some help from the pain.  I have tried them all!

  • Maintain good posture

Kind of in line with the lumbar support earlier, maintaining good posture is a big helper when dealing with sciatica.  I find myself straightening up frequently, even with the help of a lumbar support.  Maybe your car has a good lumbar cushion or built-in support, you should still be aware of your posture while driving.

Conclusion: Driving with sciatic nerve pain

I know it’s a pain in the butt (pun intended), or legs when you are driving under the influence of sciatica.  Hopefully, some of these tips can help you feel better and get on with your life.

Everyone is different and has varying degrees of pain and some things work and some don’t.  These options sometimes help me and you might benefit as well.

I appreciate you stopping by today, and be sure to leave any questions or comments in the space below.

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