With the sunnier months of the year just around the corner, we’re sure to be spending more time in the car. From spending time at local parks to family vacations, you’ll want to protect your back along the way. Good ergonomics matter as much in the car as they do in the office or at home, But how do you maintain good ergonomics in the car? We’ve put together a short guide to help you out.
Tips To Help Your Back Survive Long Road Trips
It all begins with getting a comfortable start. Before you even leave the driveway, ensure you’re sitting comfortably in the car. What may seem a minor irritation now can turn into a point of agony later on down the road. Do the following before you even get on the road.
- Clear your pockets. Wallets and phones can cause your spine to shift out of alignment over time.
- Align your knees slightly higher than your hips, and keep your head situated atop your spine rather than leaning forward.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably in relation to the steering wheel. The NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration) suggests that you situate your breastbone no closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel. Hold your hands at the 3 and 9 positions for the best ergonomics. It’s also important that you don’t sit too far from the steering wheel. Overreaching places additional strain on the shoulder, wrists, neck, and spine.
Take the time to get out and move along the way. While it can certainly be relaxing to while away the hours watching the miles go by, it can be hard on your back. Even with built-in heaters and plush seats, it’s best to get out every two hours to stretch. Fifteen minutes should be enough to limber up again. If you have back issues, you may have to stop more often.
Shifting around now and then can stave off problems. Even while you’re driving down the road, it’s important to move around a bit. Stretch your back by sitting up a bit straighter, pump your ankles forward and back, and shift around in your seat to ease the pressure. The important thing is to let your body move while staying safe inside the car. Even a little bit will help.
Try a little hot and cold therapy. Inflammation and swelling are common problems faced by those on long road trips. Using a heating pad can help ease your muscles and improve blood flow. Cold can help reduce swelling, particularly useful if you have issues with joint pain on long drives. Just be sure not to apply the heat or cold for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.
Speak To A Spinal Specialist For More Helpful Tips
These tips will help you experience a more pleasant time on those long trips, but they’re just the start. Speaking to a spinal specialist will provide additional tips that can help you enjoy your drives that much more. Reach out to them for a consultation today!