A rounded lower back, a slouched pelvis, hunched shoulders, and a forward-extended neck are just some of the common forms of poor posture that frequently occur when vehicle owners get behind the wheel without being mindful of how they are sitting. It’s poor posture that also places extra pressure on your joints and the many parts that make up your spine. If you don’t pay too much attention to posture while driving, here’s what you can do change that.
Support Your Lower Back
Lower back pain (LBP) is a common complaint of drivers. It’s often caused by not fully sitting back in the car’s seat. Slide your tailbone as close to the back of your seat as possible to achieve the correct posture. If this isn’t fully possible, use a lumbar support cushion.
Adjust Your Car’s Seat
It’s important to keep circulation flowing to your lower back area to facilitate tissue healing and promote the delivery of essential nutrients your spine needs. Achieve this goal in your car by adjusting your seat pan so your thighs are fully supported by their own weight and your knees are a bit lower than your hips.
Avoid Sitting Too Far Forward
You’ll instantly throw off your spine’s alignment if you need to lean or inch forward. These positions also put added stress on hip joints. If other friends or family members use your car, take time to readjust your seat so you’ll be able to comfortably reach the pedals and steer without having to inch forward or lean as you drive. But it’s perfectly fine to lean back a little – the 100 to 110 degree range puts the least amount of pressure on your spine.
Adjust Your Headrest
Your neck and upper back also needs to be properly supported as you drive. Ideally, your headrest should be between the top of your head and ears. A properly adjusted headrest can also minimize your risk of sustaining serious whiplash injuries in the event of an accident.
Once you get your driving posture into the right gear, kick things up a notch and treat your spine and joints to a good stretch when you have a chance to do so. If you’re on a long trip, for instance, find places to pull over so you can get out of the car to stretch and walk around. For times when joint or back pain worsens or suddenly appears, steer yourself to an orthopedic specialist to find out why.