Driving with good posture will help you avoid back pain. This is especially true when you drive for a long distance, but you should get in the habit of good posture even on short trips. Here are posture tips specific to driving.
Relax Your Shoulders
Many people tense their shoulders while driving. This causes neck pain, shoulder aches and other, similar problems. Take a moment when driving to observe your body position and note whether or not you are scrunching your shoulders or leaning forward. Be conscious of letting your shoulders relax naturally every time you observe that you are tensing up.
Watch Your Grip
Gripping the steering wheel the whole time you are driving does not make you a safer driver and puts you at risk for aching muscles, particularly in the arms and wrists. Let your hands remain relaxed while holding the steering wheel. The only time a tighter grip is required is when you are making turns.
Adjust Seating and Steering
Good driving posture does not mean simply sitting up straight. In fact, a slight incline to the seat is better because it distributes your weight more evenly, putting less pressure on your spine. Adjust your seat so that you are just slightly inclined backward and that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Your feet should reach all pedals easily without effort. In addition, your steering wheel should be angled and close enough that you do not have to hyper-extend your arms to reach it as this creates tension in the shoulders.
While it is good to relax and remain comfortable while driving, slouching is not the answer. It might feel comfortable in the beginning, but slouching places stress on your muscles and bones, especially the lower back and sides. If you are slouching on longer drives, soon you will find you will need to change positions frequently to avoid pain. Look at the angle of your body. You should be only slightly reclined with your knees slightly lower than hip level rather than drawn up and your shoulders should be relaxed and even. Placing one arm on the window ledge tends to put your whole body slightly off center and should be avoided.
Years of driving with poor posture eventually takes a toll, but it is never too late to correct your posture. If your back pain keeps you from enjoying your drives or from living life to the fullest, book an appointment today at Oliver Chiropractic Wellness Clinic by calling 780-455-2112.