Take care of your back while driving

Written by Laurelle Caristo

According to Inner West Chiropractic thousands of people every month will visit a chiropractor with injuries that are aggravated or caused by a bad driving posture.

It doesn’t matter how often or how little you are out on the road – it could be doing you damage. There is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you are standing up. Those most at risk are the people who not only spend long periods of time in the car, but also those who make infrequent short journeys in the car.

Research identified the following three groups most at risk are:

School Run Mums

  • Turning around and twisting to deal with children in the back – twisting to such a degree whilst sitting down is potentially damaging because your spine twists but your pelvis and legs are anchored
  • Having to reach into the car to lift children in and out and reaching for school bags – the further away the weight is, the more the strain on your back

Reps on the road

  • Some attire – can restrict movement, shoes could slip off pedals, whilst high heels cause you to over extend your ankle
  • The amount of time spent in the car – not just driving but also using laptops whilst stationary. Rotating in your seat to use your laptop, or to complete paperwork, will put pressure on your spine
  • Lifting samples and equipment in and out of the car – bending from the waist increases stress on your lower back

Taxi/Commercial Drivers

  • Sitting still in a vehicle for long periods of time as it reduces the blood flow to the muscles and joints, increasing incidences of pain and fatigue
  • Vans boast a great deal of space in the back, but drivers space is limited and inflexible
  • Suffering stress due to time pressures for delivery drivers and pressure from passengers for taxi drivers
  • Lifting and handling heavy items

Inner West Chiropractic has the following advice for all drivers:

  • Relax – a relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allow your seat to take your weight
  • Make adjustments – if you share a car, make sure you adjust the seat position to suit you when you get in. Make sure the seat is slightly backwards so that it feels natural and that your elbows are at a comfortable and relaxed angle
  • Take regular breaks – the BCA advises that you should stop and stretch your legs and arms at least every two hours
  • Clench your cheeks – if you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches, side bends and shoulder shrugs and circles
  • Unload –rather than stretching behind you get out and walk around the vehicle before unloading
  • Leave the tight clothes at home – as they will restrict your movement
  • It’s all in the timing – allow plenty of time for journeys to avoid stress
  • MOT your body – we regularly service our cars, do the same for your spine – visit a chiropractor to make sure you are sitting correctly and safely
  • Pain is a warning sign do not ignore it

For more information or you would like to make a booking to see one of our Chiropractors contact us on 02 9743 6666

 

Posted in

Frank Caristo