REDUCING BACK STRAIN/ ACHE WHEN DRIVING
Car seating and the adjustment of car seats can affect you and your back, especially if you spend a lot of time in your car.
When else would you sit in a chair and not move your spine or pelvis for literally hours at a time?
The only nearest comparison, would be to watch a very long film at a cinema. In all other situations you get up, go and get a cup of tea/ coffee, go to the toilet, stand and have a chat to someone. so driving is not an activity to be underestimated in terms of your spinal and postural health!
To avoid back pains / aches when driving...
If you regularly get backache when driving you should probably get an osteopathic assessment.
1. Break up your journeys
Stop for comfort breaks every hour, even if you don't think you need to. just a short walk to and from your car to the toilets on a motorway will give your back muscles a chance to recover form the sitting posture. If not on motorways do make little stops at the sides of some roads and have a few minutes walk.
This may add say 10 minutes to your journey - in reality making very little time difference, but the difference in how you will feel on arrival is considerable. You will feel mentally and physically fresher and if travelling on business the difference could be vital to the success of your meeting.
2. Make sure you are not tired
When you are tired and fatigued you are at greater risk when driving from an accident perspective, but you also at greater risk regarding your back. When we are tired we are less conscious of any tensions building up in our spine and muscles.
3. Make sure your seat is adjusted properly - see below. Most people do not have their car seat adjusted properly. Little information is ever given on how to do it and that that is available is based on Mr/Ms Average (who do not exist). If you follow the advice in the Seat Adjustment article then you will learn how to set upi your car seat specifically for your spine.
Adjusting your car seat
hese instructions on adjusting your car seat if followed carefully should have a beneficial effect on your spine and comfort when driving your car. Most people just get into their car and make adjustments to the seat without considering just what effect they are truly having. If you set up your seat incorrectly, each and every time you sit in it, the seat will take your back into an uncomfortable position! These instructions will take your back into the most comfortable possible position on getting into your car in the future..
Your Back is 'King'!
FOLLOW THE 10 STEPS BELOW TO MAKE A CORRECT ADJUSTMENT OF YOUR CAR SEAT
1. Sit in your car seat and adjust the back of the seat so that it is fully down and well away from your own back and pelvis.
2. Sit so that your own pelvis is close to but not up against the seat hing area.
3. Close your eyes. This will allow you to be more body aware and able to find the most comfortable position for your spine and your car seat.
4. Take at least 2-3 minutes and ideally up to up to 5 minutes, just sitting with your eyes closed. With your eyes closed and taking your awareness to your spine, pelvis, neck and shoulder girdle; slowly move each of these areas, making yourself more and more comfortable. DO NOT rush this process - it is the key to the whole thing.
5. When you feel as comfortable as possible without your moving position, adjust the back of the seat, until it just meets your spine in this position.
6. Now do the same for the lumbar support - keeping your spine in the position from No 4.above, so that the lumbar support just meets your spine.
7. DO NOT alter your head and neck position from that achieved at instruction No 4. If you have moved, take some time to re-find it. Now adjust the height of the seat (if your seat allows this adjustment) so that you are comfortable looking out of the middle of the front windscreen.
8. Now adjust the rear view mirror so that you are looking comfortably through the middle of the rear windscreen when looking in the mirror.
9. Next we adjust the steering wheel position (some cars can adjust the stem of the wheel in different directions and a 'to and fro' position. Without touching the steering wheel, raising your arms with your eyes closed and decide where do your arms want to be so that the shoulders are comfortable if holding an imaginary steering wheel. Take your time, do your shoulders want to be higher or lower, nearer to you or further away? Then adjust the real steering wheel to that comfortable position you have just found.
10 Finally adjust the wing mirrors keeping this comfortable seating position so that you just see down the sides of your own car and the road next to your car (from where oncoming vehicles will be).
Now you have a seating position which is based on your spine being comfortable not based on a random series of adjustments.