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what is it about driving?

baffledbbaffled Posts: 375
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
What is it about driving? The fortunate part of my day is that my small business has the work, the bad news is that creates alot of driving. More frequenctly while I am driving I will get the pain, like a nail is in my shoulder and it burns, shoots down my arm to the point that that arm doesn't feel like I could use it. It "falls" to my lap. More often on the left than the right. Some times these zingers can last a few minutes others can last until well after I have gotten out of the car.

So what is it, the combination of arm positioning, the attempts a make to turn my head to see traffic - but I do have to admit, I am now groaning a little when I know I will have alot of driving to do that day.



  • i can relate to troubles in car. my experience is that just a small amount of movement or adjustment can make giant difference. I have both arm and leg issues and have managed to make things relatively comfortable so i actually go to the car for pain relief.
    I'll focus on the arms because that's where you seem to have trouble.
    try getting arms really loww. bring wheel way down toward your lap and steer with "good arm".
    try something under your neck to give it support. a rolled up towel or a small pillow. then of course relaxing behind the wheel. if you can. loosen grip on wheel. deep breaths now and then.
    good luck and if you find anything else that helps let us know
  • For me, driving was a problem because of having to raise my arm to steer. I used my other arm as much as possible. Turning my head to look at traffic was also something I had to do very carefully.

    My worst pain was caused by working at my computer. It was hard for me to understand because my disc problem was on the left side and I'm right-handed. Just using my right arm and hand on the keyboard and touchpad caused a lot of pain. :/ My physical therapist said that the neck works as a unit and cannot be looked at as right and left when trying to understand these things. That principle would apply to driving and everything else you do. Something to keep in mind when you're trying to analyze what's aggrevating your pain.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • thank you both - it is amazing how such a simple thing as trying to drive can create such painful episodes - i will try your suggestions

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    to read about this situation. At some point in your recovery you will realize just how far you can go.
    Its nothing to do about PT or any other conservative treatments.
    It is also hard to distinguish between Nerve pain and your current pain, Nerve pain can last a lot longer than your initial symptoms and it is always so important to remain in contact when some of your old friends.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I still have and have had major issues driving and like you dread the car. My pm doc finally came to realize that it is the vibrations of the vehicle setting it off. I can't be around anything vibrating. Oh how i hate those boom boxes in ppls car that vibrate the entire block. But as the others have said getting the wheel closer is some help. I have actually traded off cars, to a smoother ridding car to cut some of the vibrations down. It has helped to a degree but the pain isn't normally while i am doing it, but appears about the end or not long after i get out of the car which is good old fashion nerve pain. Also keeping my air pressure in the tires right helps to cut down the vibrations. Those mirrors are so important as well so you are not using your neck to look but rather your eyes. I just don't think we realize how much you move in a car or i didn't at least.
  • Driving is easily a big source of discomfort and as others have said, it helps getting the wheel repositioned a bit lower and bringing your arms down. My bad arm usually winds up in my lap without me even realizing it, even with my SCS.

    I have had to go through great pains to find a vehicle that actually makes it easier for me to drive. Things to watch out for are door height, ceiling height and seat back position. When I have to get in and out of a vehicle that requires me to bend my head to clear the door frame, it gets bad. Also when I can't sit comfortably and look straight ahead without leaning a bit to see clearly below the headliner, it causes strain. If the seat back is too severe in either direction or leaned back too far, it puts more strain on my neck and shoulders and causes more pain.

    I have had to change vehicles several times over the last few years in order to find one that is the most comfortable. It makes a big difference.

  • thanks again for your replies. Ron - I am confused though?

    Unfortunately for me - i need my commercial grade truck - i haul around stone and mulch - but I agree the steering wheel low is the best position, and I have to stop putting my hands high on the steering wheel. The bumps can be murder - being the driver or passanger. Thank goodness for mirrors. Because my truck is a commercial grade, I do have lots of mirrors and yes, try to use them instead of rotating my head whenever possible.

    It is good not too feel alone -

  • baffled said:
    thank you both - it is amazing how such a simple thing as trying to drive can create such painful episodes - i will try your suggestions

    If the suggestions the other people made fail I would try wearing a soft cervical collar when your driving. If your arm falls asleep something is touching a nerve and the collar will keep it off the nerve more and correct posture related positions too. Just a thought hun. take care
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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