Do you dread long car trips, knowing you’ll suffer an aching back after you arrive at your destination? We have some good news: You don’t have to resign yourself to pain and misery every time you commute to work or head off on a road trip. Adjust how you sit in the vehicle, following these six steps, and you should find your travels to be much more pleasant.
Adjust your seat height. You should choose a height that allows you to see the road, your dashboard, and all mirrors comfortably without straining your neck. You should also be able to reach the steering wheel comfortably, and your feet should rest flat on the floor.
Choose a seat position. Aside from height, your seat probably also moves forward and backward. You should be able to extend your feet to the car’s pedals, still keeping your knees slightly bent.
Recline the seat just a bit. If you’re forced into a too-upright position, you might put too much pressure on one part of your body and end up with pain.
Consider a lumbar support cushion. Unfortunately, many car seats are designed more for appearances than comfort. The curve in your spine should be allowed to rest in its natural position, without being forced too straight or more curved than normal.
If you need lumbar support, shop for a specially designed lumbar support cushion. While a rolled towel can work in a pinch on short car trips, it won’t hold its shape on longer drives.
Raise or lower the headrest. The top of the headrest should be about even with the top of your head. Your head should remain in a neutral position, not leaning back nor pushed too far forward, to avoid strain on your neck.
Adjust your steering wheel. You should be able to grasp the wheel in front of you while maintaining a gentle bend in your arms. Never drive with your shoulders hunched, and you shouldn’t feel like the wheel is almost out of reach, either.
If you’ve made the necessary adjustments to your seating position and still experience back pain after riding in the car, make an appointment with us. It’s possible that you have another back issue going on, and that sitting for long periods simply exacerbates it. We can offer you a full exam and chiropractic treatments to resolve the pain, along with advice on preventing its recurrence.