Baby You Can Drive My Car
By Krista Elliott
Americans love their cars. Until we master the science of jetpacks (it's 2016 — why do we not have jetpacks yet?), cars are often the fastest and most convenient way to get from point A to point B. And if you have a car that performs well and there's a lack of gridlock, driving can be a lot of fun. It's great to pile the family into the car on a sunny Sunday and see where your mood takes you.
Driving, however, is not without its risks. Besides the fact that driving is a lot harder on the environment than mass transit, biking or walking, there are specific risks to your body:
Sitting ... in Traffic: Long commutes are not only frustrating and tiring, but they're bad for your health. Spending hours every day sitting in your car creates the same health risks from being sedentary as someone who sits at a desk all day long, including compression of the spine.
I'm Pickin' Up Bad Vibrations: Under the hood of your car you'll find a whole lot of moving parts. And those parts all combine to make your car go where you want it to, but they also combine to make your car vibrate. That constant vibration adds strain to your muscles, tiring them out and leading to uneven forces on your spine and joints. Any bumps and jolts in the road are an additional shock and strain to your body (a good rule of thumb is that if the road is hard on your car, it's VERY hard on your body).
Fender-Bender? Rear-Ender?: Most of us, fortunately, will never be in a serious car accident. Many of us, though, will be in minor accidents, whether it's a minor fender-bender, or being rear-ended at a stoplight. The damage to your vehicle may be minimal, but the damage to your body may not be. Even minor car accidents can result in painful whiplash, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and other injuries to your joint and spine.
So, short of investing in that jetpack (and they'll probably vibrate too ...) what can you do to protect your back and neck while driving? A few tips:
- Make sure your headrest is at the right position to keep your head from whipping back. The top of the headrest should be level with the top of your head, with the headrest itself being as close to your head as possible.
- Sit up straight. Too many of us drive hunched over with our spine in a C-curve. Make sure your seat is upright and that you can easily reach the steering wheel without having to pull your shoulders forward.
- Extra padding can help absorb vibration and bumps from your car. An ergonomic seat cushion added to your car's seat can help your spine and hips stay better-aligned, while dissipating harmful vibrations.
- Regular chiropractic treatment from the experts at The Joint Chiropractic can help offset any subluxations or strains caused by driving. And if you've been in an accident? The Joint can help ease your pain and hasten your recovery, getting you back to your old self sooner.
So hit the road (but carefully!) and make sure to make time for a pit stop at The Joint! You don't even need an appointment to get the customized care you need to get you revving at full speed.