Most Effective Ways To Avoid Aches & Pains of Prolonged Sitting

My husband and I were fortunate enough to take a road trip to Bozeman, MT over spring break this year.  We love to ski so decided to drive out west to the mountains. We packed up our gear early in the morning and took off for the 14-hour drive.  The trip was quite uneventful, especially driving through flat, boring North Dakota, but I had a few books, a couple magazines, and lots of CDs to keep us entertained.

Skiiing - OSI Physical Therapy

After about 6 hours in the car, I noticed my low back stiffening up, hips were getting tight, and my neck started to become sore. I realized how difficult it is to sit all day!  Because so many people travel long distance for trips or sit a lot for work, I figured there are several people who could use some advice about how to sit.

Here are a few tips that I tell patients in the clinic and used myself on our road trip:

  1. Posture!  Being in one position for more than 20-30 minutes increases stress on your body. If you are in a bad posture, there is even more stress through certain joints. Using a lumbar roll at your low back helps to keep proper low back position which also helps your shoulder and neck posture.  Some vehicles have lumbar support built in them, otherwise a towel roll (or sweatshirt which is what I had available) work just as well.  Don’t slouch; have your hips and low back against the chair.  Sit up tall and keep your shoulders back.  And, don’t let your head drop forward.


  1. Frequent Breaks.  Stand up and move around as often as you can.  Stop frequently for gas and bathroom breaks.  Make sure to get out of the car and walk and/or stand as much as possible.


  1. Microstretches.  There are stretches you can do both in the car and out.  View these exercises by clicking on the link and use the access code: D7BZCH4L


If you still have difficulty with prolonged sitting, whether at work or for long car rides, let me know!  A physical therapist will be able to fully assess your posture and use other techniques help decrease any pain or stiffness to make sitting more comfortable.

I’m happy to report we made it safely to Montana and survived skiing in the mountains without injury!

– Nicole,

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