Why Does Driving Give Me Back Pain?

Sep 26, 2022 | Uncategorized

Why does driving give me back pain?

Firstly, car seats themselves are poorly designed. They are designed for safety in the event of an accident. A car seat forces our spine into a C-shape, so you lose that natural S -shape curve in the spine. The two main reasons why driving impacts your back is the poor posture and being fixed in that position for an extended period. Our backs are designed to move, so being stuck in an uncomfortable static position for a long time while driving can result in pain and discomfort.

For anyone who spends a fair amount of time driving each day – whether that’s for a living or a long commute – there are practical steps you can take to prevent back pain and damage.

My top tips to make driving more comfortable and minimise the negative impact.

  • Use a seat wedge. Do not use a towel rolled up in the lumbar curve (low back) while driving or ever, in any seating position! A lower back curve is normal but if you have lost that natural curve over time you don’t want to be forcing anything in that area as this will make it worse. You want to encourage that curve in the right way by using an ABC seat wedge which will correctly angle your pelvis to encourage that curve. Make sure to 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. Avoid any pressure behind your knees as this can reduce your circulation.
  • Adjust your seat position. The backrest needs to contact your back, from your bottom to your shoulders, about 100 to 110 degrees. Reclining too far back will make you strain your head and neck forward. For those with long hair if you have a ponytail or bun on the back of your head. If you sit in the car with it in that position it will push your head forward. While you are driving let your hair down or make sure it is on top of your head so it’s not touching the headrest.
  • Get out and move around Sitting in one position in a car will stiffen up your back muscles and can lead to achiness and possibly muscle spasms. Everyone should ideally take at least a 15-minute break for every 2 hours of driving. If you’re prone to back pain, you may want to take breaks more frequently, such as every 30 to 60 minutes. I often get out of the car and do the stretches you will have been given in the office and a quick 5 min walk to stretch my legs in the service station car park.
  • Shift your position while sitting. When possible, try to move a little in your seat. Even 10 seconds of movement and stretching is better than sitting still. Move your ankles, clench your bum cheeks. This helps keep the blood flowing. If you’re stationary in traffic you can move a little more, however, please make sure the movement is safe to do in the car.
  • Lift from your knees. 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, as this will reduce the strain on your back. Your back is very vulnerable when you lift incorrectly, especially after you’ve been static for a long time.

If you do get back pain while driving and can’t adjust your position so you are comfortable you can book a discovery call to discuss. Alternatively, you can send me a picture of your driving position from the side while the door is open so I can give you some tips to correct your driving position for you in your car.

Have an amazing week.

Contact Bianca Downey for more information: info@postureandwellness.co.uk

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