Author Topic: Comfortable Car for Back Pain  (Read 483 times)

brian313313

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Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« on: August 29, 2019, 06:19:58 AM »
Try googling "comfortable cars" and they think you want a BMW or Mercedes. I have degenerative disc disease and several bulging discs. I am commuting a long way right now and the Prius is hurting me. It vibrates too much so I'm thinking about another car. I'll actually replace my 4Runner since the Prius is my wife's favorite car. We share the Prius as much as possible to save on gas. The 4Runner is more comfortable but that bounces more. It's a different strain on my back.

I'm thinking maybe an Accord/Camry or small SUV like an Escape. They seem comfortable, but I don't know how they will be on a longer trip. I'll be looking for something 5-10 years old most likely. In the 25k range I could consider new but only if it offers something that an older car doesn't.

I live in the mountains and I'm not interested in moving back to the city. I recently rented an apartment near work and the problem was that everything is home in the evenings so it's just like I'm waiting to go to sleep so I can go back to work. I may as well be a traveling consultant but I don't want that. I figured I might as well wait in the car while driving. Due to this, comfort of the car is a priority to cost. Our housing costs are next to nothing.

Thanks.

former player

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 07:13:26 AM »
Instead of changing the car, how about changing the seat?  Look for a maker in your area - perhaps an upholsterer, perhaps a custom car place, who can either make a new seat for your current car or alter the existing seat so that it works for you better.  A really comfortable seat contoured the way that works for you will help with the bounce/vibration issues as well as giving you the right posture when seated.  It may not be something they've done before, but someone who can alter car seats to help with back problems and other disabilities might start a nice business.

The other thought I've had is that you visit a breaker's yard and try the seats in lots of different cars to try to work out what works for you and what doesn't.

ElleFiji

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 07:21:07 AM »
I have my patients with back issues use seat warmers year round, even with ac on. It helps a lot. I'd also find a physio or OT clinic and see what modifications they've been doing for patients. Lumbar cushions are pretty common and I know we've got sources for more complex issues

FIRE@50

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2019, 07:23:49 AM »
Sitting will never be healthy for your back.

merula

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2019, 07:42:56 AM »
Posting to follow; my husband has the same condition. A new car isn't in the cards for us for a number of reasons, but seat modifications would be.

MsPeacock

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2019, 07:52:33 AM »
I have terrible problems w/ my back and hips and long drives aggravate it. I use the seat heater, I bring a soft squishy down pillow and shove it around to get the support I need. I have an older Ford escape and find it to be about average in terms of comfort. The seats are fairly upright "Captain" style seats (kind of). I do not do well with bucket type sedan seats (e.g. in the Ford Focus). The term "comfortable" means many different things to different people, so that word alone isn't going to yield useful search results. There are various support pillows, heated and vibrating seats, etc. that you can use in your car. Have you tried any of those?

brian313313

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2019, 08:20:58 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. The Prius has heated seats. I will definitely try leaving them on and maybe get a seat pad or something. I could also get a new seat for the 4Runner but not the Prius. That's my wife's car primarily. I can go to Physical Therapy and ask them also. I have an open prescription from my doc for that.

I don't really want a new car and even though the 4Runner uses a lot of gas, the math of swapping for another vehicle doesn't work out. If I can't get the Prius worked out I'd rather switch to the 4Runner with better seats. The fabric is about worn out anyways. The 4Runner has it's charm also. I did some low-budget things to modernize it. Except for the wheels which were a total waste of money but worth every penny :). It's a high-mileage older vehicle but I had to do something so I liked it.

me1

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2019, 08:33:54 AM »
I have had back pain for over 20 years. One thing that helped is driving and sitting less. But one thing that has made car rides more bearable is cutting a pool noodle to the width of my car seat. And wedging it horizontally right at my lower back. You probably have to play around with it for a bit to find the most comfortable position for you. Itís super cheap, and easy so give it a try. What it does is it force your back into correct amount of lordosis which my back loses in car seats. It has been a life saver for me in the past 6 or so years.
 I would try all these seat fixes before buying a new car. I am not sure itís the car, for me it wasnít as my problem seems constant in different kinds of cars.

qnp817

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2019, 08:34:10 AM »
Long time lurker...first post.  Thought I might be able to help a little bit.

My husband also has degenerative disc disease and bought a new car last year after his old manual transmission committed suicide on the highway.  He did a lot of research and he must have sat in and tested 30-40 cars.  We ended up buying a Kia Sorento.  It was used but he got the top of the line model because the seat has a ton of adjustability including a seat extender that helps support the legs more.  He also has a long commute and he says the difference between his old car and this new one is night and day.  We also use the Sorento for road trips and he never gets to the point where we have to stop because his back is too sore from driving.  The Sorento also has a very smooth ride similar to a sedan instead of truck-like like some SUVs. Might be worth checking one out?

During his research, he also found that Volvo's are supposed to have very comfortable seats as well.

Not sure about you, but heat is one of the worst things my husband can do for his back...just makes inflammation worse.  I feel for you...watching my husband live with near constant pain to one level or another for the last 5 or so years is hard.  Good luck!

brian313313

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2019, 09:49:59 AM »
...heat is one of the worst things my husband can do for his back...just makes inflammation worse. 

Good point. I generally use ice following heat or just use ice alone.

kei te pai

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2019, 10:45:39 AM »
How many hours a day do you spend sitting? My personal experience has ben that increased walking and exercise generally has helped back pain more than anything else.

brian313313

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Re: Comfortable Car for Back Pain
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2019, 10:48:31 AM »
How many hours a day do you spend sitting? My personal experience has ben that increased walking and exercise generally has helped back pain more than anything else.
Too many hours sitting. I go for short walks pretty regular. Every 1-2 hours while at work. I also do PT at least once/day.