For many people, it can feel as though the bulk of your days is time spent sitting down rather than actually moving around. Whether seated at your office desk or driving through the daily commute, your posture can be compromised setting you up for back and neck pain. In fact, back pain is a common side effect of long hours spent on the road and amongst habitual drivers. Your body feels the impact not only from the prolonged sitting but also from the side swaying on the roads, driving over speed bumps and other vibrations, which can take its toll on your neck and back. This vibration of the spine pushes the disks between your vertebrae which can cause damage to the disks. So what are some things you can do to alleviate neck and back pain? Well before you buckle up and take off on your journey, consider the following tips and advice:
Head and Seat Position
Avoid slouching at all costs. While seated in your vehicle, make sure to maintain a neutral spine. Don’t have your wallet, smartphone, or anything else tucked away in your pockets which might throw off your spine alignment. You should also sit as close to the steering wheel as comfortably and safely as possible. Reduce sitting farther away from the wheel because this causes you to overextend and therefore compromise your posture adding strain to your wrists, shoulders, neck, and spine.
If the vehicle doesn’t have ergonomic seating, use a small pillow or rolled up towel for extra support. This may require some trial and error to determine the best positioning, as each person will have their own individual needs.
Sitting in one position for an extended period of time can lead to aches and soreness. During long trips, try to schedule a break to get out of the vehicle and move around. If this isn’t possible, try to adjust your seat and change your position every 15-20 min.
Pay Attention to the Positioning of Your Feet
Be mindful of your feet just as much as you are aware of your posture. Keep your left foot on the ground and if you’re in cruise control, your feet should be pressed into the ground and the thighs and shins should form a 90-degree angle.
Ice Packs and Heating Pads
Always carry an ice pack or cold pack JUST IN CASE your back pain flares up. Alternatively, you can use heating pads or heated seats to warm-up your lower back, especially during the colder months.
If you follow the above tips, you can drastically reduce neck and back pain and even avoid it.
Safe and Happy Driving!