Everyone in the team at our Auckland physio clinic will tell you that poor posture causes plenty of pain. We’re well used to treating people who suffer, often needlessly, from the side-effects of incorrect posture. Much of this is down to slouching or slumping while they sit at their desk but a surprising number of aches and strains are caused by the way people sit in the driver’s seat.
For example, it’s quite common for Kiwi motorists to drive with their driver’s seat retracted too far back. In order to be able to see what’s in front of them, they have to flex their head uncomfortably forward which puts a great deal of strain on the neck muscles, ligaments and joints. Over the years, this unnatural positioning of the neck and the head can cause chronic neck pain. Bringing both the seat and posture into a more upright position will rectify this.
Then there are drivers who sit too close to the edge of the seat instead of sitting right back and upright, with their hips firmly against the back of the seat. This causes a pronounced slump in the lower back. The obvious fix is to ensure the hips are placed against the seat at all times, which will straighten the lower back; at the same time, it will help to keep the neck and head in a more upright position. To make it more comfortable for drivers to keep this position, the vast majority of vehicles have a lumbar cushion, but this is rendered pretty much useless when someone sits towards the front of the seat, rather than the back.
One other thing that happens when someone sits down towards the front of the driver’s seat is they are too close to the steering wheel and dashboard. When this occurs, their legs are bent excessively, causing slumping in the hip and lower back, and placing unnecessary stress on the spine.
With domestic travel being the “new normal” for most of us over the upcoming holiday season, and with road trips being a big part of that travel, it could be a good time for you to check out your driving posture. If you drive a lot and suffer from aches and pains at the same time, there could well be a connection. And if you do suffer from neck or back pain for any reason, we’re here for you. Drive (with perfect posture) to our Auckland physio clinic – we have plenty of on-site parking!