If you drive yourself to and from work every day or if you usually drive fairly long distances, you have probably experienced back pain. You are not the first person to experience this. About 30%-60% of drivers experience back pain caused or made worse by driving.
Indeed, driving can be quite an uncomfortable and painful task, especially if you also have improper driving techniques. That is why it is highly important that you know and fully understand what can cause back and neck pains while driving and what precautions you can take to avoid them.
Why Does Driving Cause Back and Neck Pain
- Your spine is exposed to jolting and vibrations
- Car seats don’t usually provide lumbar support
- Driving for long periods of time puts extra strain on your vertebrae
- Most car seats are made so they sit low and tip back and that strains your hamstrings and makes your pelvis roll backwards when you slide forward on the seat. Those seats also strain your neck by forcing you to keep your neck at 20 degrees forward so you can look straight at the road
- When the seat is positioned too far from the pedals, it adds strain on the upper back and the neck
- Driving a manual car also puts pressure on your lumbar discs as you constantly need to press on the clutch
What Can You Do to Prevent Back and Neck Pain?
- Correct your posture. Because most car seats are designed to tip back, you might have the tendency to slump forward. However, this position can take its toll on your back pain and make it even more painful and uncomfortable. Try to practice adjusting your posture and slowly correct your poor posture and you’ll soon feel the benefits.
- Adjust your seat. It is supposed to be in a position where it can provide as much support as it can to your thighs while still close and high enough that your legs and feet can reach the pedals comfortably. The backrest should have an inclination between 5-10 degrees. The top of the head rest should be at least at eye level.
- Your steering wheel should also be adjusted. Your arms should be able to bend comfortably in the 10 to 2 position.
- Try to relax when you’re driving. Some drivers tend to tense up because of other drivers, pedestrians, or emotions. But it would make such a difference if you just rest your head back on the headrest and breathe evenly. This can relax your neck and shoulders and your upper back and neck won’t hurt.
- Take short breaks during long drives. Do not attempt to make your long trip in just one shot. Your back becomes weaker and weaker the longer you drive, so you should remember to stop the car and take a break every once in a while so you can stretch your body.
Chiropractic care can greatly help with back and neck pain that may be due to driving or other causes. Give Back in Balance a visit and we’ll help you achieve better back health.