GPs say increasingly more patients complain of back pain caused by car journeys. Many people experience neck or low back stiffness after driving. Back pain, headaches and leg cramps can become routine, even for drivers who only drive short distances.
Modern life involves spending so much time in cars, it is imperative that car seats support our spine. Unfortunately, as the engineering and design of our cars has evolved, the comfort and ergonomic design of car seats has been neglected.
TIPS FOR COMFORTABLE MOTORING
Back and Neck Support
Driving with poor posture will cause back and neck ache, as well as poor concentration and fatigue. Sit back in the chair to support your spine. If your seat does not offer sufficient support you can buy a lumbar support or place a rolled-up towel in the small of your back to support the spine’s “S” shape. To reduce the risk of whiplash, reduce the distance between the rest and your head.
Steering Wheel and Chair Position
Adjust the wheel so your arms are not stretched or cramped, which could strain your shoulders and neck and lead to fatigue. Adjust your seat to allow you a comfortable view of the road. If you are small, jack up your seat to prevent overstraining your neck. Ensure that your feet are not too far from the pedals. If you are tall, slide the seat back to avoid cramp.
Long Distance Driving
Sitting in one position for a prolonged period will result in stress and strain on the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments. Stop for a few minutes each hour. Walk about to ease the spine and minimise aches and pains.
Getting in and out of your car
Swing your legs in and out of the car with your knees together. Never climb into or out of the car one leg at a time. After a long journey walk for a few minutes before you unload your boot. Your joints and muscles are cold and can be easily injured by such heavy lifting.