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Back pain when driving? Read our tips!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Constant back pain can make driving unbearable, especially when driving for long periods of time.  Fortunately, there are simple adjustments you can make to your driving behaviour to relieve back pain.

The primary causes of back pain when driving
For most of us, good posture just isn’t something we think about when driving.  Many people put their spine in awkward positions by slouching and even by putting their feet up.  
Incorrect posture when driving can place excess pressure on the lumbar curve.  Consisting of five vertebrae in the lower portion of the back, the lumbar curve naturally curves towards the stomach.  When driving for long periods of time, this curve tends to straighten, which puts excessive pressure on the discs.  On top of this pressure, the discs and vertebrae are being forced to endure the millions of vibrations from the uneven road surfaces of today. This can cause back pain, even after getting out of the car.
Other causes of back pain when driving include the height and recline position of car seats.  When the seat is reclined, the legs are straightened and the neck is flexed forward, in order to get into a position to properly see the road. This can put intolerable pressure on the nerves in the arms and legs, the pelvic area, lower back, and neck. Most people have no idea that their comfortable driving position is negatively affecting so many areas of their body.
How to ease back pain when driving
We've teamed up with UK Leading Physiotherapist and Biomechanics Coach, Martin Haines DipRGRT, MCSP SRP MBC MBCA to share with you the best tips for preventing and relieving back pain when driving.
  1. Make time for rests.  Don’t drive for hours without giving your body a chance to relax.  Take the time to get out of your car and take a gentle walk around to get the muscles, joints, discs and nerves moving.  Driving for long periods will not only make you less likely to practice good posture, but it can get uncomfortable even if practicing absolutely perfect posture!
  2. Access to the pedals.  Your feet should be able to reach the pedals easily, with your knees bent to a comfortable position.  You should be able to place both hands on the steering wheel with the elbows slightly bent.  If you’ve been leaning back and driving with one hand STOP!  When driving, if you feel like you are stretching, try adjusting the height of your seat.  Ensure you can also touch the controls and have good, all-round vision.
  3. Seat position.  Ensure your seat is about 10 - 20 degrees back from vertical.  This may feel a little uncomfortable at first but keep with it as it should feel easier with time.
  4. Automatic gearbox.  Many people with existing lower back problems find that an automatic gearbox helps relieve back pain as less strain is placed on the spine and pelvis.
  5. Don’t use your car as an office! Using your laptop on your knee places a great deal of stress on your lower back, in particular your neck.  It also encourages bad posture.
  6. Dynaspine Car Back Support.  Whether you’re looking to prevent or relieve back pain when driving, you may want to try using a back support on your car seat.  There are many different products that drivers can purchase to support their lumbar curve when driving. The Dynaspine Car Back Support is one such product! 
    Dynaspine ensures that the lumbar curve remains in a natural position and prevents your back muscles from being held in a static position.  The Dynaspine Car Back Support has two flexible back support plates. They are built on a special spring mechanism that allows them to move with your back as you sit in different positions, e.g. changing gear or turning to look out of your side window. Dynaspine is the ideal product for back pain relief and prevention when driving. It is also lightweight and comes with a free carry case so you can take it where ever you go; to the office, on an airplane, to your home, etc. 

    Click here to view the Dynaspine Portable Back Support.

    Dynaspine Car Back Support

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