Is Your Commute a Pain in the Neck

by Feb 7, 2023

Is your commute a pain in the neck? Is At some point most of us have experienced upper back and neck pain while driving.  Perhaps you turned your head to the side to shoulder check and felt a sharp shooting pain, or just a “crick” in your neck.

This is a problem.

It’s even more of a problem when the neck pain causes you to recruit your upper body to shoulder check.  Or it can get worse and you just “hope for the best” and not shoulder check at all.   We have all seen other drivers do that one.

It’s important to know what causes your commute to be a pain in the neck and how to fix it before you cause an accident.


Don’t accept anything less than a full range of motion.

This is not an “eh…its good enough” moment, you need to be able to comfortably turn your head.  Your safety and the safety of others are at risk here.  As a Chiropractor its crucial to evaluate a patient’s range of motion with they have neck pain. How far can you turn your head to the left and then to the right.

A full range of motion should include the ability to turn your head so your chin is in line with your shoulder.  You should be able to do this without shrugging your shoulders or turning your body and you should not have pain of any kind.  You don’t have to go “full exorcist” but you should easily be able to bring your chin near your shoulder.  If you can’t it is a sure sign that there is a problem not just with the muscles, but also the bones in your neck.

The pain may be more than just your commute.

The pain in your neck while driving may be more than the length of your commute, or the frustration of driving in heavy traffic.  The likelihood is that there are other factors as well, and your commute is where the pain manifests.

Most people work at a desk all day with poor posture, and then double up on the poor posture on the commute back home.   At a red light look at the posture of the other drivers around you.  I am sure you’ll notice that their head is way forward, their shoulders are rounded forward, and they are probably slouched down in the seat.

This posture puts a tremendous amount of extra load on your neck, leading to muscle fatigue, soreness, misalignment of the bones in your neck, and finally pain.

One simple thing.

While this tip is not going to fix the root cause of this problem (misalignment if the bones in your neck), It can be a very helpful thought when it comes to better posture.  Try pushing or pointing the top of your sternum (breastbone) towards the sky.  This naturally helps you sit up straighter and pulls your neck and shoulders back.


It’s all about alignment.

As tempting as it might be to chalk up your neck pain to stress or needing a massage, the reality is that your commuting conundrum comes down to alignment.

Think about it this way.

Your entire central nervous system travels to every part of your body from your brain and your spinal cord. The majority of your peripheral nerves pass through one or more areas of your spine. When your spine is out of alignment, these nerves become cramped sending distress signals to your brain.  This can present in the form of pain, numbness, tingling, or even burning.

Over time, if the neck is not realigned, the muscles begin to compensate for weakness or pain creating even bigger problems than before. If you fix the alignment problem, you fix the nerve problem which, in turn, fixes the muscular problem.

Chiropractic care is the best way to realign your spine and restore your neck’s range of motion. The cervical vertebrae, the bones closest to the skull, are capable of moving in every direction. But if they are misaligned, their movement is impeded. By carefully and strategically realigning these bones as well as the rest of the spine, you will find your range of motion is restored and your pain is relieved at the source.

Stop relying on your mirrors and dumb luck to stay safe on your commute.

At Desert Valley Chiropractic we would like to help you stay safe out there!




Dr. Katherine

Dr. David Iacuone

Dr. Dave is a graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO. As a student clinician he became heavily involved with the technique attending many seminars including the annual instructors seminar. He has been a clinical instructor for Activator Methods international seminars. Dr. Dave has practiced in Texas City, TX where he focused on personal injury cases and in Phoenix, AZ where he has practiced in private practice at the Activator Health Center as well as at the Phoenix V.A.

To make an appointment call us at 602-439-1515 or reach out through the contact submission on our website at Desert Valley Chiropractic.

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