Are The Seats In Your Car or Truck Killing Your Back?

I think we’ve all experienced back pain while driving at least a time or two. It’s usually always in the lower back… I wanted to find out what the connection was between driving and lower back pain. Research has come up with a few different things that can cause lower back pain. Vibration from the engine, sitting position and how long you are driving the car.

First things first is to make your seat more comfortable and here are some tips.

The Seat – You need to make sure that your bottom is sitting all the way in the back of the seat. When you slouch the lower back is not supported. Sitting up right with your bottom all the way to the back of the seat will help you sit more upright and minimize the stress on your spine.

The Backrest – You should place the seat at a 10-15 degree incline from the vertical position. If for some reason this feels unnatural to you then you need to make the seat more upright. It was unnatural for me so I had to play with it a few degrees. The main idea here is that if you are sitting at a bad angle it can strain your neck and your sitting bone.

The Headrest – This is good in helping your posture and it will help lower injuries in an accident. The bony bit at the back of your head (known as the ‘inion’) is a good guiding point, the headrest should be level with this. There should be about 1 inch between the back of your head and the headrest. This allows for the ligaments and the muscles of your neck to control the posture of your head better and giving better support in case of an accident.

Seat/Pedal distance – You want to make sure that you do not over stretch your legs and you also want to make sure you don’t have to twist your body in any way. If your knees are bent and you can’t move them very easily then you need to stretch out a bit. If you’re legs are completely straight when you push down the gas then you need to tighten up a bit. It is normal to have your knees bent at about a 45 degree angle.

The Arm position – Your arms should be as relaxed as possible, elbows bend around 20-30 degrees. You want to reduce any stress on your shoulders so you should adjust your steering wheel to a mid to lower position. And remember 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.

Take breaks – Just remember if you’re on a long trip to take a break. I once drove 14 hours without stopping unless it was a quick bathroom break then back to the car. My body was so stiff I was hurting the next day. It’s always better to travel with someone else but if you are alone stop at a rest stop every couple of hours and walk around a bit. It’ll help trust me.

Thanks to Brandi Hodge for contributing.

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