Hours on the road, stuck in one position, can take a toll on your body—leaving you stiff and sore. You might experience anything from lower back and leg pain to neck stiffness and sore shoulders.
Pain from driving can impact your quality of life. It prevents you from exercising and sleeping well, increases overall stress, and affects your mood. But while pain from driving is common, it doesn’t have to be a part of your story. There are simple ways to protect your spine—and minimise the impact driving has on your health. The best part is you can start today!
5 Tips for Driving Without Pain
Here are five tried and tested tips that protect your body and take the pain out of driving. If you’re driving long distances for the holidays, use these bits of advice to ensure you have a pain-free trip.
Tip #1: Sit Better
Your posture in the car is key when preventing pain from driving. Thankfully, almost all modern vehicles offer adjustable seating and steering options. To find the ideal driving position, focus on the angles of your body and the distance between your body and the steering wheel and pedals.
Here’s a more in-depth explanation regarding how to sit when you drive:
- Adjust your seat back to a 100-110 degree angle (not an upright 90 degrees).
- With your bottom as far back in your seat as possible, move your seat forward until there is a gentle bend in your knees when the pedals are fully depressed.
- There should be at least a two-finger gap between the edge of your seat and the underside of your knees; you might need to purchase a back cushion to achieve this.
- Your steering wheel height should be as low as possible without obstructing your view of the dials.
- Adjust the depth of your steering wheel so that when your arms are fully extended, your wrists rest on top of it. When driving, your hands should rest on the wheel below your shoulder height with a slight bend in your elbows.
Tip #2: Support Your Back
If you suffer from lower back pain during and after driving, you will likely benefit from extra support around your lower back. Some vehicles have lumbar support built into their seat design. If yours doesn’t, you can purchase a driving pillow that supports the natural bend of your spine.
To test if this solution works for you, place a rolled-up towel behind your lower back the next time you hit the road.
Tip #3: Stretch
You don’t have to stop your vehicle to stretch your muscles (although, it’s definitely encouraged!). Shoulder rolls, neck rolls, arm stretches, chest stretches, foot flexes, and ab and bottom clenches, are just a few ways to release tension and increase your circulation while behind the wheel.
The next time you’re stuck in traffic, see how creative you can be—your body will thank you!
Tip #4: Stop and Walk
It can be tempting to drive for hours non-stop to reach your destination ASAP—but that’s not healthy for your body. For the best chances of arriving feeling comfortable and relaxed, include a few small breaks (10 minutes each) where you stretch your body and walk around (avoid sitting).
This simple activity eases tension, improves circulation, and counteracts the effects of sitting still for so long.
Tip #5: Strengthen Your Core
Your core muscles are essential to your body’s internal support system. If your back kills you after a drive, strengthening and stabilising your core muscles can make a significant difference—and reduce your risk of future back injuries! Well-known core exercises include the plank and crunches. But always chat with a professional chiropractor for advice.
Got Pain? Book Your Appointment Today!
If you’ve adjusted your driving posture and you’re still sore, It is time to see a professional and find the relief you need. Get in touch with our chiropractor at Bradford House Chiropractic Clinic today and start your journey toward healing—and pain-free driving!