Taking care of your back is a vital part of your health routine and since it’s Back Care Awareness Week, what topic would be more fitting to address. For those that travel long distances or drive for hours on end, being confined to one position combined with the stresses of traffic, poor posture and numerous disruptions on the road can be detrimental to your back. Below we’ve listed our top tips for preventing any driving related back problems.
Adjust Your Driving Position
- Move Your Seat Forward
- Angle Your Seat
- Adjust Your Headrest
- Change Your Grip
Moving closer to the wheel (as much as you can so you’re still comfortable) prevents you from slouching and means you should be straining less to reach the pedals.
In order to sit with good posture, research has shown that you should sit to an angle of around 100 – 110 degrees. Reclining your seat too far back makes you strain your head and neck forward.
Your head should be positioned an inch away from the headrest and should meet the middle of the cushion to enable maximum comfort and help to improve posture.
Research has shown that changing the position in which you grip the steering wheel can benefit any back problems. Holding the wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, allows you to rest your arms which is meant to ease upper back pain.
Use Cruise Control
If your vehicle has a cruise control feature, it is great to use when appropriate. Cruise control allows you to rest your feet from the pedals for short periods of time and therefore allows you to distribute your weight more evenly during these short windows of time.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks is great for giving your legs a rest and vital for concentration, it’s also really important to get out of your vehicle and have a stretch every so often for the sake of your back too. When you stop on your journey, make a point of walking as much as possible to really get the circulation flowing in your back. Whilst the discs in your back do not have their own blood supply, they rely on regular movement of the spine to get their supply of nutrients.
Heat Your Seat
If your vehicle has heated seats, they don’t only keep you warm but can help ease back pain too. They help to relax muscles and relieve pain as heat helps increase blood flow and circulation to painful tissue and joints.
Use a Lumbar Cushion
Using lumbar support is great for easing back pain as they allow your spine to remain in its natural position and enforce good posture. Whilst you can buy lumbar cushions, there is the option of simply rolling up a towel to achieve the same effect. Whilst driving, you should position the support at belt height at the small of your back (the bottom of your back where it curves the most).