So, will you be one of the thousands of people taking to your car this weekend for a mini getaway?? If you are planning on driving any kind of distance, read the pointers and advice below to avoid the journey giving you back ache.
Approximately 30-60% of drivers report back pain that is caused or made worse by driving.
On bank holiday weekends, as we all head to the coast hoping for some sunshine, it is likely that we will spend much longer in the car (stuck in traffic) than we would usually.
The driving position and the length of time in it, vibration of the car and use of our feet on the pedals (meaning they aren’t used to stabilise and support you in the position) can create stiffness of the joints and tightness of the muscles.
Here is how you can take steps to look after your back on the journey….
Take regular breaks
It is advised that we should take a 15 minute break every 2 hours when driving long distances. Not only will this help your concentration levels, your back will thank you for it too. It will give you a chance to stretch and move around, reducing the stiffness of the joints and muscles.
Drink plenty of water
Muscles and joints can be sore and achy if you are dehydrated, drinking plenty of water will help make your back more resilient to the effects of a long drive. It will also force you to stop regularly for toilet breaks 🙂
Whilst you are in the car, make sure that you fidget a lot to prevent your back from seizing up. This is obviously easier to do as a passenger so if you are driving with someone else, swop regularly to give yourselves the chance to stay mobile.
Having a good driving posture will prevent the level of tightness and stiffness getting too much.
- Sit with your bottom right back in the seat
- Adjust the seat length so that your thighs are in contact with the seat and comes to just behind the knees
- Sit with your shoulders in contact with the back rest
- Adjust the steering wheel so that you can easily reach it with bent arms without your shoulders coming off the seat
- Ensure that you sit up on your seat bones allowing a neutral posture for your lower spine (it should not be too arched or too slouched), the lumbar support or rolled up towel may help with this
- The angle of your seat should allow you to easily press all the way on the pedals without your legs pushing into the seat
- The upper part of the headrest should be in line with the top of your head with a small gap between your head and the rest
It is easy to allow your posture to slip part way through a journey. If you set yourself up in good posture before you leave and adjust your rear-view mirror to this point, you will know if your posture slips as you will not be able to see out of the mirror! Try and adjust your posture accordingly, this usually works better with a stop too.
Doing some simple stretches before you set off, on your breaks and at the end of your journey will help to prepare your body for the drive and keep it loose afterwards.
Following these steps can help prevent back pain whilst driving. However, if you are still feeling pain/discomfort from a long drive or from any length of time in the car, call the clinic on 01823 333973 for an appointment with one of our chiropractors.