There are a few particular settings where dealing with nagging pain is never desirable, and one good example for most people is while they’re driving or operating any kind of moving vehicle. One form of pain that some people deal with in this setting is hip pain – this is sometimes caused by preventable issues with posture or seating while driving, but in other cases may signal more significant hip issues that require medical attention.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we’re happy to offer numerous orthopedic services to patients around Tulsa, including knee and hip treatments for any kind of pain you’re dealing with. Here are some of the reasons why hip pain may occur in various ways while driving, plus tips for managing each of these specific causes – plus some more general tips at the end for overall avoidance of hip pain during any driving or related setting.
Front Hip Pain
One of the more common issues is pain in the front of your hip, usually caused by friction between your upper thighs and the seat. When seated in a vehicle, the hip must be bent, causing the thigh bone (femur) to rise up toward the pelvis. This compresses the area at the front of your hip – and if you’re sitting in the wrong position, this compression can cause pain.
To manage front hip pain while driving, make sure to keep your hips and legs at a comfortable angle – both should be slightly bent (around 105 degrees). If possible, adjust your seat’s height so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Finally, be mindful of how you’re sitting – don’t slump or lean in your seat, and make sure to take frequent breaks (especially on longer trips).
Back Hip Pain (Buttocks)
Back hip pain is often caused by incorrect posture. When felt in the upper buttock, this is usually due to irritation in the lower back – the feeling of your lower back pushing against the seat, leading to pain and discomfort.
To avoid this kind of hip pain, focus on maintaining good posture – keep your back straight and slightly reclined (around 110 degrees) in order to reduce tension across your lower back. Additionally, be mindful of any manual adjustments you make while driving – try to keep your hands and arms relaxed, as any tension in those areas can lead to additional discomfort.
Outside Of Hip Pain
One type of hip pain that tends to be more common during longer drives or even road trips is outside hip pain. Sitting is considered a “flexion” posture for your back, which can cause the hip to take on an unnatural position – leading to tension and irritation in the outer hip area.
To avoid outside hip pain while driving, adjust your seat’s angle so that you’re slightly reclined (around 110 degrees). Additionally, adjust any headrests or back pillows to make sure they provide adequate support – this will help keep your spine in the correct posture and avoid any unnecessary tension in your hip.
One area of hip pain that often signals a more significant issue – one often not caused by the driving at all – is groin pain. Because adductor muscles and tendons aren’t really activated during driving positions, this kind of pain tends to signal a more serious underlying issue.
If you experience any kind of groin pain while driving – or in general, for that matter – it’s best to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic experts as soon as possible. We’ll be able to determine the root cause of your hip pain and provide the appropriate treatment.
Finally, the most common cause of hip pain in the saddle region while driving is compression of nerves in the lower back. This can be caused by a seated position that is too reclined – usually around 130 degrees or higher.
To avoid this kind of pain, adjust your seat so that it sits at an angle of 110-115 degrees – slightly more upright than what you would normally sit in for comfort. Additionally, keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands close to your lap, as this helps reduce any additional pressure on your lower back.
Lastly, here are some additional tips for minimizing hip pain while driving:
- Taking breaks: As we noted above, several of the types of hip pain that can occur while driving are due to tension and compression in the hip area. To avoid this, be sure to take frequent breaks for stretching and moving around – at least once every hour.
- Sitting posture: It’s also important to pay attention to your sitting posture – don’t lean forward or slump in your seat, since this puts additional strain on your hip area. If possible, use a seat cushion for additional support.
- Stretching: Make sure to do some stretching before and after any long drive – this helps reduce tension and pain in the hip area. Simple stretches like knee-to-chest and piriformis releases can help relieve any tightness or discomfort in the hip area.
- Consider your seats and vehicle: Finally, if you notice persistent hip pain while driving, consider switching up your seating or the vehicle you use. Certain vehicles or seats may provide more support than others, so find one that works best for you.
By following these tips and consulting with our orthopedic experts if necessary, you can reduce the likelihood of developing hip pain while driving.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we specialize in providing comprehensive care for hips, including diagnosing and treating any hip pain you experience. We always prioritize patient well-being, so be sure to reach out if you need help managing your hip pain or any other pain in the Tulsa area.