Is Your Car Causing Your Low Back Pain?

Is Your Car Causing Your Low Back Pain?

Road rage has become commonplace in our society.  Poor driving skills, congested roadways and hectic schedules can cause even the safest driver stress on the road.  Do you dread your commute to and from work because of the pain you have to endure every time you ride in your car?  Is your car seat starting to break down?  Is your car seat becoming a literal pain in the butt?

You don’t have to trade in your car in order to get save your back and neck from pain and agony due to a car seat which is no longer supporting you well.  If you know how to properly adjust your seat and can add some simple supports to it, you can have your economy car feeling like a top-of-the-line luxury sedan in no time.  Learn how to get the most out of your car’s seat to help protect your spine and back.

Sit Up Straight.  The most common mistake made in adjusting your car seat properly to fit your spine is keeping the back of the seat in a reclined position.  While this may be more comfortable in the short term, if you are spending more than 10 minutes in your car, your seat is increasing the strain on your low, mid and upper back.  Straighten up the back of the seat so that it is nearly perpendicular to the bottom of the seat.  This will reduce the strain on your low back vertebrae and discs.

Get some low back support.  Using a backrest or a cushion that adds some support in the small of the back is critical to helping hold the spine in its correct position while you sit.  More deluxe driver and passenger seats feature an adjustable low back support which you can use to put more pressure in the low back portion of the seat.  Once you have your lumbar support properly adjusted your shoulders will line up directly over the top of your hips.

The higher you sit the better.  Part of the popularity of SUVs and trucks is the fact that you are more comfortable when you are able to sit up higher.  The closer you can get to keeping your knees bent at a 90º angle, the less strain you have on the leg muscles and nerves, providing greater comfort.  If your seat can be adjusted, raise it up as high as it will go.

Build up your seat.  It isn’t reasonable to trade in or sell your car just because it isn’t an SUV, a truck or a crossover.  Low profile vehicles and cars that have a seat bottom that has been broken down with use, will cause you to keep your legs extended, or straight out, to a higher degree, increasing the strain on your leg muscles, nerves and your low back. Adding a seat cushion or wedge will build up your car’s seat bottom and better position your legs, pelvis and low back.

Movin’ on up.  Proper ergonomic position most often means moving your seat forward a few inches.  This will help to straighten your back and also improves the curve in the lower spine.  If you are having to reach to hold the steering wheel and controls, you put flexion in the lower spine, which can lead to disc, spine and nerve damage over time.

Move around frequently.  There is no perfect position to sit in for long periods of time.  We weren’t created to sit still for long periods – we were made for movement.  If you are traveling any longer than 20 minutes at a time, you need to change your position and readjust your seat.  Doing so puts motion in to the spine and muscles of the back which reduces the stress on your body.

Hopefully, these tips will help you drive more comfortably!

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