You may be excited to take a road trip this summer, but you might also be a little anxious if you commonly experience back pain due to long periods of sitting. Instead of missing out, a better plan is to practice some simple stretches that you can perform along the route and then make a commitment to stopping every hour or so—perhaps pulling into the vehicle rest areas along the side of the highway—and taking a few minutes to go through your stretching routine. Many stretches for the back are performed lying on the ground, which isn't something you'll likely want to do in a public area. Instead, you can rely on these standing stretches to get some relief, and then you can visit your chiropractor once you're back home.
Stand in an erect posture and bend your elbows to place your hands on each side of your lower back. Your hands should be positioned so that your palms are on your lower back and your thumbs are on the sides of your torso, pointing downward. Push your belly out and allow your shoulders and head to bend backward, stopping when you feel a stretch in your back and taking care to cease the backward movement before it causes pain. Hold the stretch for a few seconds—up to about 30 seconds is a general guideline—and then slowly return to your original upright position.
While fitness enthusiasts use the squat exercise to strengthen their quadriceps muscles, you can use a variation of the squat to loosen up your back after sitting in the car. Begin in an upright position, and then bend your knees to lower your body to the ground. Bend as low as you can; ideally, your backside will be just above your heels. Engage your abdominal muscles and hold the position for up to 30 seconds. When you return to the upright position, take care to do so slowly and keep your back elongated.
If you're concerned about pain in your upper back, stretching your hands directly over your head can loosen up the area. Stand upright, extend your arms straight above your head and link your hands. Then, shift your shoulders and upper back to the left, hold the pose for up to 30 seconds, and then shift to the right and hold the pose on this side for the same duration. You can also bend your shoulders and upper back forward and backward for 30 seconds each.