6 Easy Ways to Protect Your Back When Driving
By Krista Elliott
We spend a lot of time in our cars, don't we? Driving to work, driving home, driving around while we run our weekend errands. We spend hours and hours sitting in our vehicles. And for many of us, the negative effects of driving are being felt in our spine and joints with stiffness, muscle pain, and joint subluxations.
Until science perfects the art of teleporting (why have they not done this yet?) we'll be stuck in our cars for the forseeable future. But in the meantime, why suffer if you don't have to? Here are some tips and tricks to protect your back while you're stuck in your vehicle:
Drive Carefully - Sitting in your car is hard on your back, but you know what's worse? A car accident. Even minor fender-benders can cause painful muscle strains and misaligned joints. Following the rules of the road and giving yourself space and time to react to other drivers' boneheaded moves can help protect your car and your back.
Support Yourself - If your car seat has adjustable lumbar support, make sure you use it. Ideally, your lower back should feel supported and in its natural curve. If your car isn't quite that posh, a lumbar cushion (or even a rolled-up hand towel) can nicely support your back's lower curve.
Scooch Back, Already - Too many of us lean back against the car seat, with our backsides sitting further forward. This puts a painful and unnatural curve in the spine. Instead, shift your bottom back so that you are sitting up straight. Not only will this take pressure off your spine and muscles, but you'll be in a better position at the wheel and can react more easily if it's needed. If you have to move your seat or foot pedals to make this work, do so.
Rest Your Head - Your headrest is an important piece of safety equipment that you probably never think about. But if you're in an accident, the headrest keeps your skull from snapping back, and can prevent painful whiplash. Take the time to adjust your headrest so that it is as close to your head as possible, and the top of it is level with the top of your skull when you're seated.
Don't Strain - If stressed out or driving in an unfamiliar area, it's very common to find yourself straining your head forward, peering myopically over the steering wheel like Mr. Magoo. If you catch yourself doing this, make a conscious effort to sit back and relax your chin from its thrust-out position. You'll still be able to see where you're going, but you won't give yourself strained neck muscles and subluxated vertebrae.
Get Adjusted - No matter how careful you are, driving is hard on the back. Regular chiropractic visits with the experts at The Joint Chiropractic can help offset the cumulative damage caused by years behind the wheel. You get your wheels aligned for better performance, and the same principle applies to your body — better alignment means better performance. So hop in your car and come by to any of more than 350 nationwide locations of The Joint!