After five consecutive days of eight-hour drives, I feel like I’ve been shot in the hip. “What?” you respond, rightly appalled. “Five lousy days? Has this wanker ever actually toured before?” Well, it’s like this: after 35 years of jostling and jolting my scrawny ass over back roads, goat paths, and dry creek beds around the world, my once arrogantly independent vertebrae now resemble clusters of cranky old men crowded together on the worn-out park bench of my spine. You may not yet feel it, but the constant bumps and vibrations of highway travel are wreaking havoc on your skeletal, neurological, and vascular systems. For this month’s column, I’ve compiled a set of 8 “driving stretches,” which, combined with a full-time effort on your part to improve your posture, will help you to arrive at your gig fresher and healthier — tonight, and 20 years from tonight. That being said, everyone who isn’t serious about spending the next couple decades stuffed into a touring vehicle, please take two steps back. Those who remain, I salute you. Now stop slouching and start reading!
1. With arms down at sides, look over your left shoulder and hold for five seconds. Repeat to the right.
2. Arms down, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears — hold for five seconds, and repeat three times.
3. Interlace your fingers behind your head, and push your elbows back. Hold for ten seconds.
4. Place left arm against back of head, left hand touching right shoulder. Grab left elbow with right hand and pull to the right. Hold for ten seconds and reverse.
5. Interlace fingers and extend straight out in front of you. Hold for 15 seconds.
6. Repeat # 5, but with hands over head.
7. Cross right leg over left. Place right hand against inside of right knee, left hand slightly behind you. Turn head to look over right shoulder. Hold for ten seconds and reverse.
8. Lean forward in seat from the waist, with backs of hands touching floor.
Try to stop every two to three hours, if only to walk around the vehicle. As you walk, clasp your hands behind your head, lean back and to the sides. While you’re driving, keep your back firmly against the seat and sit close enough to the wheel so you don't have to arch your back to reach the pedals or other instruments.
Admittedly, this month’s column wasn’t fraught with the usual wry and sardonic humor we typically strive for, but it’s still a hell of a lot funnier than a herniated disc.