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Posted on 25 October 2016 by James Barber
Tags: Back Pain, Neck Pain, Posture

Could driving be causing you back or neck pain?

Travelling to work, shopping, ferrying the children around, getting to meetings, visiting friends and relatives; for many people driving is a routine activity, an essential part of daily life. And it’s a very comfortable and convenient way of travelling, especially in the winter, when the cold, wet weather sets in. But all this time spent sitting in a car seat is bad news for our backs because it causes 50% more pressure on the lumbar discs compared to standing up¹.

In the interest of safety car manufacturers have adapted car seats, so that our knees are now higher than our hips. Unfortunately, this is a far from ideal sitting position, compromising what we (chiropractors) would recommend as ‘good posture’. On top of this, when we drive our legs move asymmetrically to use the pedals, causing us to twist and turn in order to be able to check what’s going on around us, and to stretch in order to change gears and steer the wheel.

Most of us have experienced feeling stiff and sore when getting out of the car after a long journey. This is probably a direct result of poor posture whilst driving. In fact, according to consumer research by the British Chiropractic Association, 25% of those questioned felt that driving was one of the factors affecting their posture. 

But don’t despair as there are things that you can do to improve your in-car posture,  here are some quick tips;

  • adjust your seat to the correct position, not too far from the pedals and not too close to the steering wheel - your hands should fall naturally on the steering wheel
  • set the seat slightly backwards so that it feels comfortable and natural
  • set your mirror positions to suit you, allowing you to see around the car without having to move your head too much
  • make sure that your seat belt is correctly adjusted, not too tight or too loose
  • wear confortable shoes, not high heels that cause you to over extend your ankle

Chiropractors are very familiar with the aches and pains often associated with poor posture in driving, and chiropractic treatment works well for addressing and fixing these problems, Ron’s story and Michael's story are good examples of how chiropractic can really help. 

If you are experiencing neck, shoulder or back pain which you think might be associated with driving come in for a posture assessment and let us show you how to protect your spine. 

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