When it’s time to buckle up and drive, most people don’t give a second thought to their posture or ergonomics. People are incredibly busy these days, and taking time to adjust your mirrors, get the headrest in the right spot, and setting the seats is just a hassle. Having a system to make sure that you have the best possible visibility is pretty important for helping prevent an accident. Having a good setup can lead to better posture when driving which can also help prevent some aches and pains in your neck, back, or anywhere else in your body.
Here are some pointers for better posture when driving:
- Use your headrest – It’s there for a reason. Using a headrest can help you keep your neck from stiffening up on longer car trips, but setting your seat and headrest has some other benefits. If you actually have your head against the headrest while you’re driving, you have a set point from which you can adjust your mirrors and seat. This gives you consistency in knowing what your field of view is, which lets you more quickly scan your mirrors and blind spots.
- Know your settings if you have multiple drivers – This is not so much of a problem if you have a newer car model that allows for multiple presets for car seat positions, but most older or non-luxury cars do not have these. If you are in a situation where you have multiple drivers, use some sort of marking system to keep track of your preferred seat positions. Use a non-permanent marker or tape when you’ve got your seat set and you’ll quickly be able to adjust your seat.
- Use towels or supports for comfort – If you’re dealing with low back pain, using lumbar support can help keep your back from rounding. For most individuals, the entirety of your low back should be resting against the back of your seat. Another consideration is that car seats tend to place our hips in a flexed position. If you are able to, adjust your seat or use towels/cushions to raise your hips at least slightly above the level of your knees. As for the shoulders, neck, and back, some car seats tend to be slightly rounded. This often pushes your shoulders and head forward, which can irritate your symptoms if you stay in that position for longer periods of time. Using a rolled-up bath towel along your spine can help lift you away from the seat slightly so your shoulders don’t get pushed so far forward.
For the “average” individual, a car seat works great. The problem is, most people aren’t the average person! For someone who is 4’11” and 6’4” to be able to fit in the same car seat is a silly idea isn’t it? Car manufacturers do a pretty good job of finding a middle ground, but there’s only so much that can reasonably be adjusted. You’ll have to do some customization for yourself. Remember that your posture when driving matters for your safety, and setting yourself off the right way can help you limit some of aches and pains as well.
If you’re having pain or other symptoms while driving, see a physical therapist. They can help you figure out where your symptoms are coming from so you can get back to enjoying the riding instead of dreading your next trip.
Got questions? Feel limited in what you’re able to do? The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to discover your future without limits.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.