The Hidden Dangers of Spending a Long Time Behind the Wheel!

Driving for long periods of time can play havoc on your body. In a similar fashion to sitting at a desk all day, sitting behind the wheel can cause many musculoskeletal problems including:

  • Headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Shoulder and neck discomfort
  • Sciatica

These are just a few of the common posture problems caused by driving. They are experienced even in casual drivers who commute to and from work each day. The risks and the pain increases for those who must spend hours behind the wheel for work purposes. Driving to meetings and appointments daily will damage your posture if you’re not working to prevent the problems from occurring.

The Postural Effects of Driving

Many problems can be completely avoided by becoming more aware of your posture when you’re driving. Next time you’re in the car take a moment to look at the way you are seated. Here are a few of the warning signs to look for:

  • Unsupported rounded lower back
  • Rounded or tense shoulders
  • Slouching

Other warning signs include placing your elbow on the car door frame or the way the hands are positioned on the wheel. Looking at your posture is a great way of working out where you are causing problems for your body and where you can make improvements.

How to Improve Your Posture When Driving

the postural effects of driving

Bad posture caused by driving can be treated successfully with the help of a physiotherapist. As well as treatments, we can also offer advice to help you combat the postural effects of driving.

There are also a few steps you can take to reduce or prevent further posture problems.

Adjust Your Seat

Many drivers position the seat too low. The seat needs to be high enough for you to have excellent vision of the road while ensuring your feet can reach the pedals. Raise it higher, but not so high that your head touches the roof. The raised seating position makes it easier to position your pelvis in a neutral position and avoid slouching. An more upright seat angle also works to prevent a slumped sitting posture.

Lumber Support

Lumbar support is there to support the arch of your lower back. Most cars now have lumber support in the seating, but additional support may be required. A rolled-up towel will provide support at a push, or invest in a lumber pillow. The support should complement the curve of your back and not feel too forced or pronounced.

Stretch Your Body

Don’t forget to take breaks when driving for long periods. Get into the habit of stretching when you take breaks – rolling the shoulders, gently moving the neck and bending from side to side are all good habits to form. Keep the movements slow and controlled to prevent further injury. Speak to your physiotherapist who will be able to provide you with simple stretching exercises to follow.

Driving a car for a long period of time will cause a bad posture if you don’t take care of your body. Pay attention to how you are seated in your vehicle and learn some stretches to help relax your muscles. Speak with a physiotherapist to receive personalised assistance for your bad posture.

Visit a Physiotherapist

If you are suffering with any of the symptoms above and you’re looking to get back into peak physical shape then contact Physio Leeds today and through our consultation and physiotherapy we’re confident that we can help you achieve this