Over 80% of Americans report back pain from prolonged driving or riding in a vehicle. Are you one of them? Or maybe it’s headaches, a stiff neck, or a sore knot between your shoulder blades.
Although your fall break road trip is over, you may find that you are spending more time than ever in your car. School drop-off, sporting events, practice, games, music lessons, clubs, and even sitting in car line leave us behind the wheel each week a lot more than we may realize.
The prolonged sitting position, poor posture, gripping the steering wheel and road vibration can contribute to low back, neck, and shoulder pain. However, there are things we can due to reduce the risk of injury or correct a problem that may have already started.
We want to enjoy the time we have together with our family in the car . . . we often have the best conversations because we aren’t distracted by toys and devices. We don’t want to be sitting in pain or resort to popping Aspirin to get through the afternoon carpool.
The goal is to optimally position yourself to avoid increased forces on your joints, muscle strain, or awkward postures. So here are our top tips to promote both safety, comfort, and prevent aches and pain while you are in the driver’s seat.
1. Modify Your sitting position with backrest at about 20-30 degrees reclined
2. Adjust your seat forward until you are easily able to depress the clutch and then adjust the height for best pedal control.
3. Adjust the wheel low and close to you in order to optimize your shoulder position and avoid unnecessary reach.
4. Despite learning the “10 and 2” hand position in drivers education, it’s best to drive with your hands at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock (or lower).
5. Make frequent position changes, especially at red lights or when you are stopped and just sitting in the car … fidget in your seat
6. Empty your pockets … don’t sit with your wallet in your back pocket as it presses on the sciatic nerve.
7. Take some deep breathes when you are stressed (perhaps from the incoming traffic from that “merge” lane) and consciously think about relaxing your grip on the wheel.
8. Enter and exit the car by sitting first then swinging your legs in and out.
9. Do not store items in the back seat or seat pocket to avoid unnecessary reaching and twisting.
10. If it’s a long trip, take breaks (at least 3-5 minutes walking outside of the car every 2 hours) or swap roles with a partner.
Hopefully, a little less tension in your neck and shoulders, a more relaxed posture, and less back pain will make those after school activities more enjoyable for you.
The most nagging problem we hear that keeps people from enjoying a car ride is a stiff neck. And we all know it’s not safe if we can’t turn our head as we merge into oncoming traffic!
So, if you try these tips and still find yourself stiff through your neck or with a headache at the end of the day, click on the link below so we can send you a FREE REPORT for more specific advice . In “How to Get to the Root Cause of Neck Pain and Headaches” you will learn how to ease neck pain and prevent headaches . . . even if you’ve suffered for months or years and you’ve been told there is nothing that can be done to help!