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Chiropractic Tips for Car Rides

By Sara Butler

On average, Americans spend about 30 minutes commuting back and forth to work each day. That may not seem as if it's a lot of time in the car, but when you add up an hour per day, five days per week, 12 months per year, it's a lot! The chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic often see patients with physical complaints ranging from small aches and pains to muscle fatigue and lower back pain as a result of all that sitting in the car. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, then there are a few small adjustments you can make to make your commute a little easier on your body.

Start at the Top and Work Your Way Down

First things first -- your head. Namely, the position of your headrest. It should be right behind your noggin and allow you to sit comfortably with your chin slightly tucked as if you're holding a tennis ball under it.

Next, think about your arms. Your shoulders should be back against the seat with your arms at about a 120-degree angle with your elbows slightly bent. Your wrists should be over the steering wheel as you hold it at the 4 and 7 o'clock positions. This helps to give your neck muscles a break as you grip the wheel.

Your ribs are another area that could use some attention because let's face it, people don't think about their ribs enough! When you sit in your car seat, make sure that your seat is at least the same height as your shoulders. If it's not, then it won't support your ribs appropriately and may be too small of a car for you.

As for your lower back, it should be supported by the seat at about a 110-degree angle. This angle is important because it helps to avoid compressing the discs in your lower back. If the seat has lumbar support, adjust it so that the arch of your lower back is supported. If it's not, then roll up a T-shirt or towel to fit into the space between your back and the seat.

Finally, your knees and feet. For your knees, they should be at about a 30-degree bend to help improve your blood flow. There should also be a gap in the seat about as wide as two fingers between the back of your knees and the seat. As for your feet, your left foot should be on the built-in footrest in order to better support your back and hips.

If you need help with proper posture during your commute, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fairfax, Va.

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