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Need help with back / hip / butt pain after driving
Old 06-19-2011, 05:05 PM   #1
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Need help with back / hip / butt pain after driving

Ok this is driving me nuts. I'm 30, generally healthy male. The last 2 months I have developed a lower back pain that seems to come from driving. This started about the time I bought a new car, thought that was the cause, but now have a totally different car (had a sporty sedan, now have an SUV) and the pain continues. It is 100% correlated to being in the drivers seat. If I don't drive, after several days the pain goes away. Hard to describe exactly but it feels like a tightness or pinching in one side of my lower butt (right under my right or left sit bones, not really in the center/tailbone), more rarely it will be discomfort in my hip. Usually manifests on the right side but I have had it on the left too. This shows up on as short a drive as 20 minutes. The discomfort doesn't present itself while driving - usually after I get out of the car, and then it will build over the next few hours. Generally I feel better once I wake up the next morning but there does seem to be a cumulative element to it (if I drive a lot on Sat and Sun I feel it Mon morning).

Have driven several kinds of cars/trucks and while some bring it out faster or in different areas, I have yet to find one that is pain-free. Higher/lower driving positions don't seem to make a difference. I'm doing all of the things that a google search says - keeping hips in line with knees, using lumbar support, using power seats and tilt/telescoping steering wheel, etc. Have also tried a variety of stretches but haven't found relief there yet either. While being a passenger in a car is not nearly as bad, I have felt some discomfort after riding (though may be left over from driving). Tried some seat cushions but these just moved the pain around. Tried different seating postures as well.

I have not had back pain before, don't have a preexisting condition or old injury, don't remember doing anything when this started that would've tweaked my back (e.g. lifiting a heavy box). I have been to the doctor once, I will go back this week but I am not sure she'll have a definitive answer or course of action. Physical therapy? Orthapedist? Chiropractor? MRI? I have read info on piriformis syndrome, sciatica, and hamsting tendonitis but nothing conclusive.

The chronic nature of this has really gotten to me. DW is so patient but I know she is getting tired of hearing about this. She also drives me around sometimes but this is not a long term solution - I have to have my own transportation. Taking some advil/aleve which helps some, but the last 2 weeks I have been feeling nauseous and my appetite has declined. I am 6 ft - have gone from 150 lbs to 140 lbs. I usually don't have a problem with advil, but I usually don't take it for multiple days in a row, so this could be causing the nausea - or it could be my mental state. I am definitely starting to feel helpless about this situation. Hard to concentrate at work (sitting at a desk doesn't cause the pain [if someone else drives me to work] but I definitely feel it there if I have been driving). I go on 30 minute walks some times and generally walking/standing is much more comfortable than sitting. I ordered a back pain book that T-Al recommended but it hasn't arrived yet.

I am just throwing all this out there. Maybe someone has an idea.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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I wonder if it could be some type of bursitis. I have no medical background and do not know if there is even a bursa there, though.

If I were you I would start with your internist or family doctor, and see if he can figure it out or who he wants you to see next.

My sympathies. Problems like that can be pretty debilitating.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:10 PM   #3
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I said it before, get a copy of "Oh, My Aching Back" and do the exercises.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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Some tips from (painful) experience:

If you carry things (wallet?) in your back pocket, remove them.

If you carry things on your belt that might be pushed into your back or sides by the seat (Leatherman knife? Phone?), remove them.

It took me a long time to understand where my pain after driving came from.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
Some tips from (painful) experience:

If you carry things (wallet?) in your back pocket, remove them.

If you carry things on your belt that might be pushed into your back or sides by the seat (Leatherman knife? Phone?), remove them.

It took me a long time to understand where my pain after driving came from.
+1

I had significant back, butt, and leg pain for a long time, both from driving and sitting at my desk at w*rk. A doctor finally told me to stop carrying my wallet in my back pocket. It pinches the sciatic nerve. I followed her advice and have not had a problem now for over 20 years.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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Wish it was as simple as the wallet but I stopped carrying that in my back pocket when all this started.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:17 PM   #7
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Go see your doctor.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:53 PM   #8
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It sounds like sciatica to me. There are some stretching exercises on the Internet and then I sit on a heating pad if it's bothering me.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:30 PM   #9
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Low back pain is something that most of us will have at some point in our lifetimes. I have had one episode and it was very debilitating. The architecture of the back is so complex that it is not surprising it moans and groans from time to time.

Here is some current information:

Low Back Pain: Chronic Low Back Pain
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:08 AM   #10
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I would start with a visit to my doctor.

Do you know if the origin is muscle or joint/bone?
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:21 AM   #11
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Ditto. Please get evaluated and find out if there's something going on that you don't wanna ignore. Probably isn't the case, but you should try to find that out.

Perhaps you could use physical therapy and targeted strengthening exercises. Based on what PTs have taught me, people can develop aches and pains, when one set of muscles is stronger than another. For example - strong abs can pull weaker back muscles out of alignment, and strong quadriceps don't mix well with weak hamstrings.

Feel better soon!

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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
I would start with a visit to my doctor.

Do you know if the origin is muscle or joint/bone?
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:39 PM   #12
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Our situations are so similar in that my pain also comes after the sitting, and it's hard not to talk about it. Mine is a lot better now (50 days) and I can't say how much is due to the books/stretches/exercises, and how much is due to the passage of time.

If the Gokhale book hasn't come check out the YouTube video on stretchsitting. This is a clever trick to lean back, then push up and "hook" your back onto the top of a chair. This way you stretch rather than squeeze your lower back as you sit. This got me through a 3 hour piano gig.

You may be able to do it in your seat in the car, but probably not. Gokhale sells a special cushion for $49 that makes it possible, but I copied the dimensions and made one by cutting up a boogie board. It's not comfortable but helps the problem.

Stretchlying also feels great, and the book will show you how to stretchlie on your side. I think that helps heal things.

I know it's depressing, but it will get better. I have my hopes pinned on stretching and exercising.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:54 AM   #13
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Yep, off to the doctor today.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:39 PM   #14
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Any of you read this book? My old(er) boss had me order it for him from Amazon and said that one of his buddie swears by this guy.
Pain Free
Author is Pete Egoscue.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:30 PM   #15
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Several years ago I experienced similar pain in my left hip and lower back that radiated down my leg after driving for any length of time. I didn't have it every day, but when I did have it...YOWZA! The pain could bring me to my knees.

Found out when I went to the doctor that I had sciatica..and also a mild scoliosis of the spine...both made worse by my driving position. I had 8 weeks of PT and still do my stretching exercises daily.

I hope I never experience the pain of sciatica again..it was truly worse than labor pains!

Good luck with your doctor visit.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:40 PM   #16
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Your doc will likely send you to a specialist (ortho or neuro are common for this), and the specialist should recommend some physical therapy. I am finishing up PT right now, and I can tell you that you are lucky in that you caught it before it gets really bad.

I also have the Gokhale book, and it is fascinating to read, and worthwhile to implement. I view it as a long term lifestyle change.

More importantly however, I cannot stress to you enough to get one of Robin McKenzie's books: Amazon.com: Robin McKenzie: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

He literally has changed how physical therapy is done for back pain and sciatic pain sufferrers. If you can select a physical therapist who is McKenzie certified, I highly recommend it. The bottom line is that it works.
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