Let’s talk about drivers. Truck drivers, couriers, commuters and more. Anyone who spends a significant portion of time driving in a vehicle knows that it can cause problems for your body. You don’t need to wait till an accident happens for you to benefit from chiropractic.
If you look at a car seat particularly the driver’s seat you will notice that the seat has been designed to fit a spine, with curves in all the right places. That design is a great idea with many flaws. First of all we are all different sizes and shapes, and many of us do not fit that seat’s design. Secondly even if we did match the design, most of us don’t sit in the chair properly to take advantage of it’s ergonomic design.
Our bodies are not designed to be stationary. We are designed to move. Movement improves circulation and overall health. Sitting in a car for an extended period of time is uncomfortable, and doing it repetitively (every day) can lead to improper posture, weak or at risk joints, muscles and ligaments.
There are things you can do to reduce your risk. Sit back in your seat, and prop it upright so you aren’t slouching. Use a towel or other support device to fit your seat to you if you don’t fit it. Adjust your headrest properly. Plan stops into your travel so that you can get out and stretch. When it is safe to do so move the parts of your body that you can, don’t keep them in the same position for longer than is necessary. As always, eat right get a good nights sleep and exercise. Your body will heal it’s self and protect it’s self if you give it what it needs.
The most common complaints of drivers are by far low back issues, but shoulder and neck issues are high on the list as well due to the unmoving positions that are required for driving safely. If you drive, and have any of these, or other aches and pains, contact your chiropractor for help.
With modern transportation people have opted to live far away from their jobs. This has it’s advantages. It is also causing problems for commuters. Most sources agree that the average American spends about 30 min in their car to get to work. That’s an hour a day, and more time each year than you spend on vacation.
Your back is taking a beating from all this driving. Car seats are designed for looks not usually for support, and even when we have a good one we rarely use it properly. But let’s not dwell on the bad. Here are some ideas to help with this problem.
- If you can, move closer to work, bike, walk or run to work. You get your exercise and you avoid the car. You might be surprised at how easy it is to bike to work at least some days.
- Keep yourself fit. Diet and exercise can help your body handle a lot. Chiropractic can help you keep your body in peak condition.
- Take your wallet out of your back pocket. I’ve seen some huge wallets. At least take it out for your commute.
- Relax. Leave early so traffic doesn’t stress you. Listen to relaxing music while driving, and avoid stressors in general.
- Park far away. This is especially important for those who sit in offices all day. This will get your legs and back moving a little before you have to sit again.
- Use proper posture in the car. Sit upright and relax your shoulders. If it helps you get a lumbar support from a store like relax the back. Adjust your seat to help you sit properly. Men usually sit to far back with their legs fully extended, and women usually sit to close. Keep as much of your thighs on the seat as possible.
- Adjust the seat when you get uncomfortable rather than shifting yourself.
These ideas can reduce the chance of you having to come see me, but if you do find your self with back pain from driving see your chiropractor. The sooner you come in the less damage is done and the less time it takes to correct it.