Safely Entering a Vehicle With Back Pain

Back pain can make many everyday tasks and activities more difficult, including safely entering a vehicle. While it is impossible to avoid doing many of these tasks, there are often ways to modify the body’s movement to ensure you are experiencing as little discomfort as possible. To safely enter and exit a vehicle while experiencing back pain, our team recommends using the following tips.

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Safely Entering a Vehicle

  • Open the vehicle door.
  • Optional: Push your seat farther back and raise the steering wheel to allow more room to maneuver your body into the vehicle.
  • Stand close to the side of the vehicle with your back to the car seat. For taller vehicles, you may want to stand on the running boards.
  • Slowly lower yourself into the vehicle, making sure to keep your movements controlled.
  • Once seated, pivot your body in the seat (without twisting at the waist) until you are facing forward in the vehicle. It may help to grasp the steering wheel or dashboard during this step.

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Safely Exiting a Vehicle

  • Optional: Push your seat farther back and raise the steering wheel to allow more room to maneuver your body out of the vehicle.
  • Move up in your seat, sitting on the front edge of the seat to the side you will be exiting on.
  • Similar to when entering the vehicle, pivot your body in the seat (without twisting at the waist) until you are facing the vehicle door and your legs are outside of the car.
  • Plant your feet on the ground (or running boards), and taking care not to bend your back, lean forward and slowly stand up. It may help to grip the door frame during this step.

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Nebraska Spine Hospital

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