Avoid back pain from driving
Why is driving bad for your back?
There are two main reasons why driving impacts your back: poor posture and being in a fixed position for an extended period of time. The forces felt from accelerating, braking, turning or even from bumps in the road can put added pressure on your back and lead to discomfort or pain which can escalate over time.
According to Jan Vickery, Lead Physiotherapist at AXA Health: “Our backs are designed to move, so being stuck in an uncomfortable static position for a long time while driving can result in back trouble. The majority of people will suffer with lower back pain at some stage in their life, but those who need to drive for more than 4 hours a day on a regular basis are more at risk.”
How to prevent back pain when driving
Adjust your back rest so that it makes contact with your back from your bottom to your shoulders, about 100 to 110 degrees.
The lumbar support on your driving seat is usually curved and raised near the lower half of the backrest. Take regular breaks, stretch, and walk around. If your vehicle has a cruise control function – and it is safe to use – utilising it will allow you to rest both feet on the floor and take some of the pressure off your lower back.
Slide your seat forwards or back so that your elbows are 90 degrees or slightly more when your hands are at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position on the wheel.
Position your bottom all the way to the back of the seat to support the natural ‘S’ shaped curvature of the spine and adjust your seat so that it supports the full length of your thighs.
Ensure your head is centred in the middle of your headrest to further prevent any aches or pains developing.
Position your mirrors so that you can easily see all around without straining your back or neck.
If your job also involves lifting items in and out of your vehicle, ensure your lower back is kept straight and that you bend from your knees.
Your back is vulnerable when you lift incorrectly, especially after you’ve been static for a long period of time. Avoid back pain from driving
Back pain is often not caused by anything in particular — but staying active can help to prevent it. This means that people who spend a lot of time driving can be particularly prone to the problem.