View Full Version : driving pains

10th January 2007, 02:50 PM

I am a bit new to all this so please forgive me.

I am a 31 year old male, with 60deg kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis, and a twisted pelvis, one leg is about 1 inch shorter. don't know the 'degress' of these as not been told...

Up until about a 18 months ago i had no back pain and despite knowing about all these problems (without knowing there names) and previously docs were not interested as I had no pains.

anyway... I bought a new car... this brought on the onset of pain the top of my right buttock (sort of where your trouser pocket is) and my right shoulder would get very stiff and painful. I changed cars and now this problem appears to be permanent... grrrr

been to docs, orthapeadic consultant who say they cant do anything cos I am too old, having physio which helps a bit but not enough... pain killers have almost no effect whatsoever and i feel like i have tried them all....

I am having huge problems finding people to take this issue seriously, if i don't get in a car for a couple of weeks (over xmas) my pains almost disappear.

Most of the pains come from the lateral stresses put on my back when going round corners.

If anybody can offer advice it would be much appreciated.


10th January 2007, 03:24 PM
I honestly don't know if it would help or not, but certainly I find as a passenger (I don't drive yet) that a lot of cars cause me significant pain, and perhaps oddly the best thing for me seems to be stiff, sporty suspensioned cars with the shaped sports seats. For example, Honda Civic Type S is a sensible 5 door car with decent performance and mpg, and there's a model available with nice sporty seats that hug you and support you a lot better than normal seats which have little lumbar support and nothing to support the sides of your waist and prevent sliding as you go round corners. I know most people seem to find this odd though, and expect that I'd prefer a spongy suspensioned soft car, but wallowing really upsets my back badly.

Also, is there any way that you can get to see another consultant? 31 is in no way too old for surgery if there are indications for it due to the size of the curves - I've been unlucky enough to have my first surgery done by a non-specialist, which has led to a cascade of problems, with the result I had a second surgery at 29 (at which time I was in very poor shape), and will at some point have another - I'm 33 currently and will most likely be at least 35 by the time I have that done (I must stress I don't mean to alarm you - multiple surgeries are far from the norm, I've really had quite exceptionally bad luck) so I can say absolutely that you are not too old. Even people in their 60s and 70s have spinal surgery for curvature! Of course as you know what is currently triggering your pain, it will be best to find a way to avoid that, but as you don't have a definitive measure of your curves I would strongly recommend getting another referral (we can possibly suggest some surgeons or major centres if you give us an idea of roughly where you live) to get properly measured and provide you with a base line so that you can monitor things properly as the years go by. Given the specific things setting off your pain, it may also be that the consultant would refer you for an MRI scan to see if there is anything which could be causing nerve impingement.

One other thing is regarding painkillers - if you've been taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (this is the class that includes ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac, indometacin and a few others as the selective Cox2 inhibitors such as Celebrex), something which a lot of people seem not to realise is that they work best when they are taken consistently - they just don't work as well if you only take them when the pain has already peaked. Generally a better thing is to take nsaids regularly spaced and have other drugs such as cocodamol (paracetamol and codeine phosphate) to take when needed as the pain spikes. Sometimes just making the change to taking the nsaid on a regular basis can make all the difference if you have not already tried this.

10th January 2007, 09:49 PM
I agree 31 is not old at all, I wonder why they told you that.
By any chance do you drive with your wallet in pocket? I used to do that but I do not do that any more. With thick wallet and kyphosis its never easy to drive or sit at work for long.

Amazed Jean
11th January 2007, 03:45 AM
Hello - you want old - you got it. I am 55. I haven't had surgeries or bracing and I have more than my share of pain while driving. However I am also just independent enough to start switching things around, adding cushions and pedal blocks having the seat taken out and changed and finally getting a 6 way electric seat on my car along with a tilt steering wheel. At least I can drive a short distance without sufffering a totally dead butt, aching spine and the sorest neck known to man. I have never met a doctor who "gets it" when I try to tell them about these sort of pains while driving. It probably stands to reason - they don't have severe scoliosis! I feel like sometimes we have to come up with our own solutions and tell the doctors about it later. I had the same experiences when dealing with not getting good sleep. I finally had to hit a few doctors over the head to get help with that issue. Moral of the story is don't give up keep trying and welcome to the site.

11th January 2007, 09:37 AM
Hi Guy welcome to SSO

I hope you find the site useful

I find driving long distances pretty tiring and i have to have the seat tilted back as i find if i dont driving is very uncomfortable. I get most of the pain at the base and my spine. I suppose that is must be where most of the pressure is placed.

Where abouts in the world are you and what sort of car is it that you drive ?

11th January 2007, 01:33 PM
firstly i'd like to thank you all for your prompt and considered replies.

i will try and tackle each question...

i have a pug 106, the car i had which started off all my problems was a stiff vw polo sport.

I think the many of the pains are caused because the hump on my upper back means all the pressure is in on place and as my shoulders are quite rounded as i moved from side to side i tend to rotate a bit also. mu car is softly srung and the seats are soft also (this appears to suit me best) the pol had quite soft seats but hard suspension. also i find that if the car is very stiff as i go round corners there is a much greater lateral stress than if the car is soft a as it 'rolls' the stress is reduced. Also, i have a lumbar roll, but as i sit the lower part of my back is quite straight so by leaning on it puts pressure on the lower part of my back which is uncomfortable. (titch, i's love a civic type s but the stiff suspension would be a real no no) - a seat that hugs me would be the best, i am quite slim so most car seats are quite big for me. By using cushions the whole rotating problem gets worse. Also as my pelvis is twisted as i sit my legs teng to point left a bit which does not help. I can last about 30 mins in good car, about 2 mins in a bad one (golf)

I live in essex, and went to broomfield hosp, but I saw an othapaedic dr (but can't remember his name - sorry) -he was not a scoliosis specialist. I spoke to sauk and they said I should se a specialist but my closest one is stamford and my primary care trust refuse to send me.... grrrrr.... any ways round this?

re painkillers, i dont take them anymore.
tried ibuprofen that did not work, then moved onto cocodomel / paracetomol mix, then dicofenac (gives me really bad stomach ache) and then napoxen which was by far the best but that gave me really bad acid stomach which affected all my windpipe - had a burned thraot for about a month (reflux something...) as well as making me really forgetful...

Marcilo, wish it was my wallet - lol



11th January 2007, 04:00 PM
I guess more than driving this is more of a comfortably sitting issue. I have same issue too. I find it hard to sit on park benches, while flying I have to have extra cushion. Office chair is uncomfortable at times. Sitting for long hurts. What bothers me is a park bench which is for relaxing after a walk is more of punishment for me.

I feel your pain

11th January 2007, 04:28 PM
With legs pointed to the left, I'm actually astonished you can drive a Peugot at all :-o I will be learning to drive soon hopefully, and we already know there's no way I'll be able to drive our Saxo so we've tried out a lot of cars just to get an idea initially which ones I can fit into even. My legs also tend to point to the left, and I found that all the Peugots I tried had the pedals shifted off to the right and, as well as no support in the seats, so I guess it goes to show how individual things are.

I can say for sure that a sporty suspensioned car without suitably sporty supportive seats would be an absolute no for me, because as you say, you get the lateral stress. It was having to spend all day in a friend's Subaru Impreza, expecting to be in agony because of the suspension and discovering I was better after that than after less than half the distance in the Saxo that made me realise that for me the suspension is not the defining factor, but rather the seats. Since then though I've discovered it is a definite preference for firmer suspension when all else is equal in terms of supportiveness of seating. (On a side note, I was only moderately impressed with the Golf I sat in when doing the seat tests, and the Polo was hilarious - I got everything set up, thought it actually felt fairly comfortable, then tried to shift the gears..... I'm not exactly tiny, have long arms, even first was a long way away and I just physically could not reach far enough to get it into reverse. Even my husband was bent double trying, and the staff did not seem at all amused at the pair of us creased up over it :glee: )

I'm actually not too surprised that the lumbar roll is uncomfortable - the rolls in my experience are generally only useful to people who actually have an over-pronounced lordosis. I believe you can get more moderate ones however, and if you could track down a memory foam one that would be even better. A few days back Jonny posted a link which had some back supports and things in it and I think that may have had something useful, so I'll have to try to dig it out for you.

Oh yes - thinking of seats, it's far from a cheap option, but perhaps it would be worth investigating Recaro seats? If you can find one that fits and supports, it could be worth doing.

Little Ali
11th January 2007, 09:58 PM
That's silly! You are not too old for surgery! :roll:

I'd also suggest getting a cushion to help balance you out and give you more support. Vicair is what I have and they're great. They have pockets full of air triangles in that you can move around to fit your body.

Good luck and :welcome2:

11th January 2007, 10:49 PM
The wifes first car was pug 107

Horrible little thing to drive it drove like a tank, had the turning circle of a supertanker and the brakes were so spongy you felt the need to hit them 1/2 a mile from where you intended to stop

13th January 2007, 08:42 PM
here is a link to an alternative to the "lumbar roll". It is an inflatable lumbar support called the Back Pillo. I have one that I keep in the car with me and the thing I like about it is that because it inflates, you can set it to fit YOUR back...not what the manufacture thinks your back should be. There is also a memory foam lumbar support on the link as well. Hope this is helpful http://www.comforthouse.com/bacpil.html.
Also, I drive a Toyota Camry...it is a nice "family car" with soft suspension, and softer seating made for traveling I guess. I like my car, but there are many things that I would change. It is hard for me to get in and out of because it is very low to the ground. It has very little lumbar support of its own, so I had to put a Back Pillo in it so that I would not be in agony any time I had to run an errand (no matter how short), and other things that I just wont mention b/c I dont want to complain too much.
Good luck finding help. Hope that it isnt too hard for you to get good support for your car.

14th January 2007, 11:39 AM
Hi there'

Sorry, I seem to have missed your arrival on the site so :welcome: even though it's a bit late now!

I don't drive so I'm useless as regards car advice, but I am a very uncomfortable passenger and I always use my memory foam pillow in the car (and on buses, despite the strange looks I get!) and I find it definitely acts as a shock absorber, although I'm not sure how helpful it would be to use as a driver, it might be a bit cumbersome.

Don't give up on the surgery option though, I had the op almost 5 months ago and I'm 49, so you're a mere youngster in comparison! Wouldn't your GP be able to refer you to a specialist spinal consultant if you went back to him/her?

An ex-work colleague of mine (who's now a medical rep) recently gave me a website address to look for a cushion I could carry around with me as obviously the pillow is a bit unwieldy, it looks a promising site although I've not actually ordered anything yet - 'post-Xmas skint' syndrome! So try having a look at www.spinalproducts.co.uk (http://www.spinalproducts.co.uk)

Hope this helps.

Gilly x

23rd January 2007, 01:57 PM
apologies for the late reply (had a spot of manflu)

i am not sure if i should start a new thread or not but...

I have pretty much exhausted all the nhs is willing to offer. I have seen the doc, the specialist, had the xrays and a mri and basically they say there is nothing wrong apart from the curves, learn to live with the pain. Which I am far from chuffed about. in fact the rheumatologist i saw last week suggested exercise and paracetomol.

Thing is, I am not sure these people are looking hard enough, it sounds harsh but the all seam to see my kyphosis and immediatly jump to the conclusion that its the problem - now they might be right but I would feel better if I felt they were making an effort. I am not exactly sure they are looking in the right place.

My back (as it were) does not hurt that much - almost all the pain i have is in to top of my pelvis and shoulder blade area. I can bring on the pain by rocking my pelvis or waving my arms around (out in front) but nobody appears to take much (or any) notice of this. None of the exercises I have from the physio make these areas hurt 9and i thought they should) they just say its a posture thing, not much i can do about that now...

I do quite alot of exercises already, gym ball, back stretches, cycling, walking and none of these cause me much pain.

Any advice on my next step would be much appreciated. I feel i need to see somebody who is a specialist in this area but the nhs does not want to listen.

Cheers G