If you have ever experienced a long car journey, you will know that feeling when you step out of the car and have a good stretch. It feels so good, and can make you feel inches taller within seconds. Driving long distances can certainly take its toll on the spine, and can be a trigger for symptoms we see regularly in practice such as lower back pain, sciatica, and neck and shoulder tension. And whilst we know that driving is unavoidable for many, there are certain things you can do to help to support your body. So, this week we share 5 suggestions to help you take care of your spine and body whilst driving. 1. Take regular breaks This one may sound obvious but it’s something that can easily be forgotten when you have to get from A to B as quickly as possible. If you are travelling long distances, be sure to factor in regular stops along the way, at least every hour, so you can get out and have a stretch. This will help to reset your posture and reduce some of the built-up tension around your spine. 2. Empty your pockets Having items in your pockets such as a wallet, phone, or keys can put pressure on areas around your pelvis which can cause lower back, hip, or even referred pain down the legs. Empty your pockets before you sit down, it will certainly help to make your journey more comfortable. 3. Elevate the rear-view mirror When you get in your car, take a moment to check the position of your rear-view mirror. A little trick to encourage you to sit upright is to elevate the mirror slightly. If it is too low, it will cause you to slouch. 4. Check your seat position There are a few things to consider when it comes to the seat position of your car. When you first get into the car, shuffle your bum towards the back of the seat which will help to support your spine. Adapt your seat so that you have a slight bend in your legs, making sure you are not overreaching to get to the pedals but also not too close so you don’t have room to move. Check the height of the steering wheel and adapt accordingly. When you are driving, check in with yourself to make sure that when you are holding the steering wheel, you are not hunching your shoulders up in the process. Check your headrest position so that it is set to support your head. 5. Stay present As you get into the journey, it can be easy for your body to go into autopilot and the good intentions at the start can fade away. Staying present during your journey about how you are positioned can really help you to take care of your body. It could be the simplest thing that could be triggering those aches and pains, such as resting an elbow on the door rest which can trigger elbow pain. It may be that you are slumped down on one side which can result in lower back pain. Maybe your head is drifting away from the headrest and over time this can lead to neck pain and headaches. If you are struggling or can’t get comfortable, then it’s probably your body’s way of letting you know that it’s time to have a break and stretch. Whether you drive a few miles a day to carry out errands or drive hours for work, making these slight adaptations will certainly help to support the health of your spine and body whilst using four wheels. And of course, scheduling your regular chiropractic visit will help to keep your body working at its best. Give these tips a go and let us know how you get on!
The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.