Lots of the problems we see at Sure Health can be put down to spending too long sitting down, and driving adds its own unique problems on top of those associated with sitting too much.
For this reason, our chiropractors have compiled their top tips to stop driving from being a pain in the neck. Or back.
1. Setting your seat up perfectly so that you are in the most comfortable position isn’t always a good idea. This encourages us to stay in position, which, while it may be comfortable at the time, is not good for our bodies. Instead, use all of those levers to make subtle adjustments to your seat position as you go along. Wait until you are stopped at a set of traffic lights and tweak something. The more often, the better.
2. Cruise control is a God-send. Having your foot on the accelerator causes strain on your lower back and on some of the joints and muscles in your leg. Wherever possible, use cruise control so that you can shift your foot around.
3. If you don’t have cruise control, make sure that your toes are pointing to 12 o’clock when your foot is on the accelerator. It is very common that we rotate our whole leg outwards to be able to get our foot onto the accelerator, pointing the toes to 2 o’clock. This causes problems with the hip and knee.
4. Tuck your chin in. Retracting your chin slightly activates the neck’s core stability muscles. This is a good thing at any time, but it is quite easy to practice while driving.
5. Try changing the position of your hands on the steering wheel. “Ten to Two” is the driving test standard, but we also recommend “Twenty past Eight” on long drives.
6. Keep your foot off the clutch when sitting in traffic. Not only is this better for your car, but it also takes lots of pressure off of the discs in your lower back.
7. Take a pair of socks with you. Rolled into a ball, these can be placed in the small of your back to create a more precise lumbar support than that offered in most vehicles. They can also be placed underneath your hip joint and alternated from side to side. This is a nice way of tweaking your posture every 10-15 minutes.
8. Break up your journey. You only need to stop for long enough to get out of the car and walk twenty yards. Even if you were traveling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats this would only add an extra 30 minutes onto your journey. It’s well worth the delay!