The following blog post How To Prevent Back Pain While Driving – Part 2 is due to The House Clinics - Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Clinic
In our previous article, we talked about how common it was for people to report that driving seems to make their back pain worse. We dealt with the issue of why this happens and helped to uncover the causes of your back pain while driving.
We talked about how adjusting your seat and lumbar support, as well as your rear view mirror can help improve your driving posture. In this article, we're going to cover other adjustments you can make to your driving conditions that will help to improve things even further.
Remember, if you have any questions at all, you can always get in touch with one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists at The House Clinics. We're more than happy to provide you any support you need. Seat belts are vital element of car travel, and one which is often blamed for back aches.
Although the tension across one shoulder and neck can be uncomfortable, it may save your life so the best thing is to make it as comfortable as possible. The best way to do this is to make sure the seatbelt is fitted to your body, thereby providing maximum support with minimal discomfort. The seatbelt should lie across the top of your shoulder and not on the top of your arm and definitely not across your neck.
Depending on your height you should take the time to move the fitting on the wall of the car which will adjust the height at which the seatbelt crosses you.
Footwear and positioning is such a simple but often overlooked aspect of car driving that can play a large part in your comfort while driving. Having adjusted the seat your feet should land at the pedals without having to overreach with your leg.
You should be able to fully press the pedal to the floor with only foot and ankle movement and a little bit of leg movement. In terms of the footwear, definitely avoid high heels or very thick soled shoes as this will make you over-extend your ankle to put pressure on the pedals.
High heeled shoes also make it harder to brake in an emergency and also cause you to lift the thigh off the seat slightly, thereby reducing leg support. Similarly, be aware of the clothing you choose, tight clothing will restrict your movement and contribute to bad posture while driving.
The final piece of advice is to take regular breaks, particularly with a long journey. You should try to stop and stretch your legs at the very minimum every two hours, but more often is better. In an ideal world you would leave early to allow plenty of time for the journey and stop to stretch and walk around every half hour.
If this seems impossible there are other things you can do to help. We are now quite used to the in flight exercises on long haul flights; well you can do a similar thing during a long car journey. For example when stuck in traffic, try these exercises in your seat.
Try buttock clenches, rolling your shoulders, and upper body side bends. Hopefully this article will give you some pointers to try to ward off that back pain while driving. If you continue to get symptoms try visiting your local chiropractor for further advice and treatment.