Working as a chiropractor in Ealing, I know only too well how important cars and driving are in the city. If you spend a lot of hours in your vehicle, however, it can play havoc with your posture and your back. Many patients who visit us at our Ealing clinic either have back problems that are caused by sitting for too long in the car or sitting in a car has exacerbated an existing issue.
Here we take a closer look at how you can help reduce the potential for spinal or joint problems if you drive a lot, particularly if it’s part of your work. A recent survey undertaken by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles found that 70% of van drivers who spend more than 7 hours a day in their vehicle have taken time off work due to back pain.
That’s quite a significant issue if your job involves being on the road for extended periods of time.
1. Put Your Seat in the Right Position
This is the number one thing you should get right, according to the team at our Ealing chiropractic clinic. Most drivers don’t even understand where their adjustment handle is on their seat and are positioned either too near or too far from the pedals. You should be able to sit comfortably without stretching or being hunched over, with your hands comfortably on the steering wheel.
The adjustment handle is normally at the base of the seat. If you aren’t sitting properly, adjusting this can make a big difference.
2. Adjust Your Mirrors
This might not seem important but if you are continuously arching or twisting your neck to see the mirror properly, it is going to cause issues with your back in the long run. This probably isn’t an issue if you are just going for a quick jaunt but if you are in the car for several hours it’s something to be aware of.
Essentially, you should be able to see the mirror properly by sitting upright and without moving your head, just your eyes.
3. Recline Your Seat Slightly
We’re not talking about reclining it right back here but try not to have your seat completely upright either. It allows you to sit comfortably without putting pressure on your neck and shoulders. You might also want to try a little extra padding in the lumbar region (the lower back), with a support which you can buy online. This gives you a bit more elevation for your hips and is good for your back.
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Even if you wear heavy shoes or high heels for work, they’re not the best things to drive in. It’s important to have a comfortable pair of shoes that allow you to access and feel the pedals while you are driving. If you’re wearing heels, for example, it can be easy to slip and overextend your foot and legs.
5. Get Out and Stretch
Finally, one of the most important things you can do, especially on a long journey is get out and stretch your body every so often. Just like sitting at a computer desk for hours on end, doing the same in your car or van can have a similar effect on your spine. Stopping for a few minutes and having a gentle stretch to release the tension in your back will make all the difference.
Driving is one of the big causes of back problems in modern day life. Should you already have an existing back issue, spending hours sitting in your car can also exacerbate your condition. If you live in the Ealing area and have an issue with your back or your joints, contact our chiropractor clinic – The Spine & Joint Centre today to find out how we can help.