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Pain while driving.

Hey everyone,
So I am almost 16 and have finally started driving. I have had 2 spinal fusions (occiput.- C2) and since the first surgery (about a year and a half ago) have worn my cervical collar when driving in the car. Any bump little of big feels like it's magnified by 100 and the pain is excruciating. I want to drive so I can get my license. How have you guys been able to transition to driving? Any tips for the pain to go away? I take pain medicine but it never has helped much and I am going to see my pain doc hopefully soon to see what we can do. Is anyone else like me, where every bump extremely hurts? Thanks again!


  • Sweetie, maybe you should put off getting your license until you are completely healed. If you are experiencing pain every time you drive and I'm sure you do not have FOM (full range of motion) yet, plus given the fact you are still taking pain meds. All this could possibly be a recipe for disaster. You have all your life to drive & I do know how it is to want your license when you are 16--it's a right of passage ;-)

    As far as tips for making the pain go away, I have no tips to make it go away. I had a cervical fusion and I would use ice packs and heating pad for relief also a massage with oils or lotions does wonders. Did you have PT?
  • I have had PT. Both my surgeon and my PT said that I have the largest range of motion they have seen with where my fusion was done. My pain meds don't have any side effects according to the pharmacist and right now I am on the lowest dose also. My surgeon and I are friends and she doesn't know why it is painful but she is signing me up for a bunch of tests I figure out why.
  • I had pain every time I went over a bump for years, and still have sometimes if I am a passenger, whether I was driving or it was someone else. The way I got around it - was to buy a sports car with seats that have a long backs and plenty of leg room. I can strap myself really tightly into this car. Because it has sports seats I can put my backside right to the back and sit up straight with the support the seats give me. It also has heated seats that I can turn on when driving long distances. It is automatic, because changing gears was murder.

    I have a 99 BMW Z3 - you can buy them fairly cheaply - they are a lot cheaper than some other cars if you buy a second hand one. As it's an older model - the one James Bond made famous - the servicing cost are around the same as other cars as it hasn't got all the computer gear modern cars have, even though it looks like a brand new car. I don't take it to a BMW dealer as they charge exorbitant prices.

    Other people think it cost a fortune which it did when new. Go and try out some cars and especially test the seats and where the gear stick is. The Mazdas look beautiful but the gear stick hurt me to change. They had bucket seats which hurt as well.

    I can keep my spine perfectly straight in my car. My car has harder suspension than a lot of cars - the cars with soft suspension still hurt me if I am a passenger. Think it would be the other way round but for me it isn't.

    Good luck - that's the way I solved it and it looks cool as well. I love this car and it doesn't hurt to drive.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 525
    edited 05/06/2014 - 7:36 AM
    Being 16, he will probably, like the rest of us, start out driving the "family car" at fist. Maybe when he is grown up, after college and has his own job and makes his own money, maybe he can get that sports car, but I recommend a truck/SUV when that time comes ;-)

    I have driven a sports car (Chevrolet Cavalier convertible Z-24) After driving it awhile, I personally, got a little bit worried about my safety when those huge 18 wheelers were passing me or driving right along side of me. The cool feeling was slowly leaving me, I felt if one ran over me there would be nothing left of me. After wrapping it around a utility pole & the beginning of my chronic pain journey, the cool feeling was completely gone!! I became fully convinced that I wanted to be a little bit higher off the ground.

    Now, I drive a truck/SUV, I'm up off the ground (not that that would keep me from getting killed in a crash but I feel my chances would be better-just my preference) I am more comfortable in this truck than I have ever been in any vehicle & I love the seat warmers and lumbar support. Also, I can sit as straight or as leaned back as I want. Btw, I drive a 2010 Ford Escape
    I just think it's each person's preference as to what they prefer. I'm sure some of the other luxury vehicle's offer more comfort-I just cant afford one @ least until I become famous. No more cool feeling, I don't care if I get a look or not. My truck is just a way to get me from point A to point B....Now, all my point B's seem to be to a medical facility of one sort or the other.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Can I assume you have a formal approval to drive from your surgeon? That is key.

    Cervical patients really should never drive with their collars. They need to wait until they are 100% free from collars before driving again.

    If you are in pain with the bumps, I would let your Doctor know. No sense in causing more problems at your age, you have plenty of years to drive. Dont rush anything
    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
  • My neurosurgeon wants me to get into a "normal" life and has approved driving. I am actually a girl and am using my family car, it is a SUV. I never have driven with the collar but have been in the car as a passenger. We have a 2006 Kia Sportage and the seats are comfortable. My neuro and I are great with emailing and she would like me to continue driving. I still have all my symptoms and everything but she said the key for me since I have not been a usual case or patient is to get to a normal life as a teenager which includes driving and getting my lisence.
  • My problems are the result of driving, a horrific crash at 20, then 30+ years of driving long haul truck. If you are experiencing pain while driving , keep in mind that road shocks will wear you down in time.
    Get pain free 1st. Go slow, don't expect to drive cross country in the 1st week. It takes years to build stamina.
    You might want to experiment with a specialized seat. Either an air ride or if you can't find one to fit your car, perhaps something like a racing seat that will give a more supportive position.
    Hope this was helpful.
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