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Driving Toward a Healthy Spine

By Sara Butler

If you suffer from back pain, your chiropractor is probably the first person you think to turn to for help. You see them, get adjusted, then get back in your car to drive home only to realize that your pain is back. Does that sound familiar? The way you’re sitting in your car could be contributing to your back pain and discomfort. Driving can make the pain in the lower back worse, leading to chronic pain. If you drive for extended periods of time, you may find this to be an even bigger problem since it places a lot of stress and strain on the spine. Here are a few tips to help you learn to sit in your car in a way that won’t undo all of your (and your chiropractor’s) hard work!


There’s a right way and a wrong way to sit in the seat of your car. The proper way to do it is to sit as far back in the seat as you can, with your buttocks up against the back of the seat. Your shoulders should be touching too. If you can adjust the lumbar for support, make sure to take advantage of it. If not, fill the space between the lower curve of your back and the seat with a rolled-up towel or T-shirt.

Distance to the Steering Wheel

Make sure your seat is in a position where you can easily reach the pedals of the car with your knees slightly bent about 120 degrees. If your leg is straight or too close to a 90-degree angle, then you need to adjust your position to be closer or farther away.

The steering wheel itself should be close enough to place your hands in the proper position while your arms are slightly bent. If it’s too close, this can put you in danger if the airbag is deployed during an accident. Of course, you also don’t want to be so far away from the wheel that you’re straining to reach it. The wheel needs to be at an angle where your hands are a little lower than your shoulders.

Tilt the Seat

Your seat should be tilted so that your leg from knee to hip feels supported when your foot is on the gas or brake pedals. It shouldn’t feel like it’s pressing into the back of your leg, merely offering light support.

How you drive has a big impact on your spinal health and overall wellness too, so make sure you’re doing what you need to in order to support a healthy lifestyle!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Las Vegas, Nev.

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