In the driver’s seat – top tips to more comfort and less tension on the road.
How long do you spend in the car each day? What about each week? Have you been experiencing neck, back or shoulder pain? If so, the way you sit in your car and drive may be a contributing factor.
Driving can often be stressful, trying to make that school run on time or heavy traffic can leave us huffing and puffing. Often when we are stressed the muscles in our neck, back and shoulders seize up.
So here are some tips to help make you stop and think about your driving position and hopefully feel less tense on the road:
- Forget those deep-seated bucket seats in sports cars – your hips should be at least as high as your knees. You may need to raise your seat up but don’t recline the back rest too much or you’ll end up craning your neck too far forward.
- When using the foot pedals, when they are fully depressed, there should be a slight bend in your knee. If there isn’t, move your seat further forward.
- Make sure you can reach the steering wheel comfortably; it may be adjustable so you can move it towards you or again move your seat closer to the steering wheel. The steering wheel should obviously not be obstructing your view and your shoulders should remain in contact with the back of the seat so you are not having to reach too far forward rounding your shoulders.
- It is no longer recommended to keep your hands in the “10 and 2” position on the steering wheel, it is now deemed “9 and 3” is more comfortable and by keeping your hands slightly lower (as you don’t need the extra leverage with modern day power steering) it helps reduce the chances of you slumping.
- Driving puts a lot of pressure through your lower back (lumbar spine). It absorbs the vibrations from the road whist compensating for the reduced support it’s getting from your feet when they are using the pedals. You can support your lower back by adjusting the lumbar support section of your seat …. Move it so it fills the arch of your lower back.
- When driving, if it is safe to do so, try and do some subtle movements like moving your arms, bending a leg or moving your bottom closer to the back rest of the seat to stop yourself seizing up. Some popular stretches are: buttock clenches, side bends, shoulder shrugs with a five second hold and shoulder circles.
- If you are going on a long car journey, try and take at least a fifteen minute break every two hours to get out the car and walk around in a service station.
Purchasing a new car with a vast array of fancy seat adjustments obviously isn’t very realistic, but with these tips in mind, you should be able to trial out some new positions which will hopefully make you more comfortable whilst staying safe on the road.
If you have been suffering from a bad back due to spending too much time on the road, contact us to arrange an osteopathy appointment.