Mind your posture while you drive

An image showing the right and wrong sitting postures while driving (Internet Photo)

It is often possible, when looking for the cause of back of neck pain, to ignore one’s behavior while driving. But the causes of discomfort behind the wheel are many, including poor posture, poor seat design, and bad road conditions.

Here is how to ensure that you seating safely in your car: Start with a car that fits your body. When shopping for your car, look out for seats that allow you to adjust the height and angle independent of one another. Get one with an adjustable steering wheel, and a backrest that stops at about your shoulder height.

Make proper adjustments to the seat. The driver’s seat is the most important thing you need to get right in order to avoid discomfort and fatigue while driving. The car companies have done a lot of work to make it easy for you to adjust, so properly adjust the driver’s seat to your comfort level.

Adjust those mirrors. Sit up straight and line up your rear-view mirror with the top of the rear window or some other reference point so that if you start to relax your posture and slouch you will be visually reminded of it. This will help keep your posture straight, strengthen back muscles and reduce back pain. This will eventually improve your posture and begin to form muscle memory, contributing to keeping your back straighter. A more straight back is a less painful back.

Level the wheel. Set the wheel in a position so that it rotates with an up and down motion of your arms using the elbows and shoulders. If it is at too much of an angle to your body, your arms will have to move forward as they rotate. That engages the chest muscles and causes a lot of torque on your otherwise stationary torso. That can cause fatigue and posture problems.

Mind your driving posture. Start by sitting upright, with your back in close contact to the seat, and not slouching. Keep your back lumbar and shoulders supported. It is also important to hold the steering wheel and not just rest your hands on it.

Tweak your surroundings. Roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back if the car has no lumbar support. You can also make a doughnut style pillow for your bum and tailbone. The difference is incredible and will ease lower back pain.

Develop a range of different driving positions. Change your position frequently so you arenot in the same one for any length of time. Sitting in the same position can cause discomfort, even if it is a good posture. Hold onto the steering wheel with both hands except when shifting gears, but change hand position frequently to increase blood circulation and prevent fatigue.

Take breaks during long drives. It is recommended to take a ten-minute break for every one hour on the road. Stop the car and get out for a short stroll. This relaxes the muscles used while driving and gets the blood circulating again.

Rest when you reach your destination. After a long drive, muscles, tendons and ligaments have tightened up and your blood flow is not the best. Give yourself a few minutes to stretch and recover before you start bending and lifting anything. One tip is to play a song on arrival, and wait for it to end before you embark on any other activity.

Adapted from: drkasters.com

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