For patients coping with a bulging disc, prolonged sitting can be an ordeal, as it puts pressure on the muscles and discs of the spine, causes tendons and ligaments to stiffen and encourages slouching, which puts addition strain on the neck and back. This makes traveling by car a real challenge for anyone coping with a bulging disc. The good news is that by taking a few precautions and preparing carefully for your trip, you can minimize your discomfort while on the road.
Assemble a kit
Before setting off, pack a bag dedicated solely to products that will help alleviate your discomfort while in the car, and keep this kit next to you during the trip. That way, everything you need will be within easy reach. A few of the items to keep handy include:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs — such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen to reduce swelling and provide pain relief
- A heating pad or chemical heat packs — to relax muscles
- Cold packs — to reduce inflammation and numb sore tissue
- A car seat cushion — to minimize the effects of bumping and jarring
- A lumbar or neck pillow — to provide additional support and stabilization
Once you’re on the road
Packing a kit is one tip for traveling by car with a bulging disc. Here are three more:
- Remove anything from your pockets that could throw your spine out of alignment — such as a cell phone or thick wallet.
- Try to maintain a sitting position that keeps your legs at a 90-degree angle — as this will reduce stress on your lower back.
- Take frequent breaks so you can get out of the car and move around — to prevent muscles, ligaments and tendons from stiffening up. The more breaks the better, but even a five-minute respite every 90 minutes can reduce discomfort.
IIf you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc and are still experiencing chronic pain despite months of conservative treatment, it may be time to consider a surgical alternative. At USA Spine Care, our experienced surgeons have performed more than 100,000 outpatient procedures that require a less than 1-inch incision and use muscle-sparing techniques to provide lasting relief from symptoms caused by a number of spine conditions, including bulging discs.
Contact a member of our team today to learn how you can obtain a free MRI review.* It’s the first step in determining if you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive surgeries that are often clinically appropriate and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.