All the latest news and tips from Kingsbridge Chiropractic Clinic
Driving us Around the Bend
15th June 2012
With many of us commuting long distances or heading out to enjoy the good weather this month, it’s a fair bet to assume that long car journeys will be involved. So are you sitting comfortably? According to the Chiropractor Fiona Webb, 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 use your car – it could be doing you damage. Fiona says, “There is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you stand 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 – because it can be compared to an unaccustomed form of exercise.”
Current research identified the three groups most at risk:
School Run Mums
Turning round 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 and school bags – the further away the weight is, the more the strain on your back
Reps on the road
Their attire – suits can restrict movement, and shiny soled 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
Sitting still in vehicle for a long periods of time as it reduces the blood flow to the muscles and joints, increasing incidence 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 passenger pressures for taxi drivers!
Lifting and handling heavy items
Fiona 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 – it’s a good idea to 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 – walk around the vehicle before unloading rather than stretching behind you
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 MOT 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, so don’t ignore it!
Please click here for a short video on driving posture.