Pain in the lower back whilst driving is a common issue.
I am currently doing a lot of driving myself and have had some aches and pains resulting from too much time in the car seat. So I have been wanting to write this post for a while! Let’s go through a few helpful tips to take the edge off those commutes and arrive feeling less stiff and more at ease!
Your car seat
Whether you have a long commute each day or drive for a living, firstly take a look at your seat! The back of your seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving. The headrest should be positioned so that the base of your skull rests centrally.
Once you have checked that, while driving don’t forget to actually USE the headrest. A lot of us drive with head and chin forward and sticking out, making for poor posture and overworked muscles! Check out the below images; Position I shows how many of us end up sitting while driving. Position II shows the ideal posture while driving.
Don’t forget to adjusted the distance to the pedals and the steering wheel too Lesson 101 in driving school!
Bucket Style Seat
Next check the bottom part of your seat. Is there a dip down to the back of the seat? Often there is. This is called a “bucket style” seat. Imagine if you sat into a bucket … your bottom will sink down into it and your thighs and knees will be higher.
Try sitting into the seat and have a good look at position and angle of your thighs and knees.
Are your knees higher than your hips because of this tilt down?
If this is the case, this position creates tightness into the hips, low back and muscles in this area. If you complain of low back stiffness or pain it may be coming from this car seat position. Alter the seat to raise your hips to come as level as possible with your knees. If the bottom part of the seat does not tilt in this manner (like my own car), find something to place in that “bucket”. Use a small cushion or folded up towel to lift your hips higher.
Spending time in a car seat is unlike any other seat. The ergonomics are different to a regular seat. You are “locked-in” to the position, you can’t wriggle around much or shift weight from one side to the other. So, if regular trips in the car are unavoidable, keep your back in shape and prevent any stresses and strains building up with the above suggested alterations.
When you get to your destination try this simple seated stretch if you find you back or hips feel achy or stiff after the journey.
Finally, with any changes to your car seat and driving position, it is important to firstly carry out these changes before taking off on a journey and to become comfortable with the changes before driving.
If you have any further questions on this topic please do not hesitate to contact me here or on 087 1815007.
If despite your best efforts, you are struggling with stiffness, aches and pains all too regularly after your commute, consider gentle hands-on therapy at Natural Back Health to bring about recovery and healing.
If you have any further questions on this topic or wish to book a consultation, contact the clinic today on 0871815007 or email us here.