driving position to avoid back pain

Mind Your Back!

Posted on September 11, 2013

four wheeler driving position

Lately, health reports show an increase in spinal injuries due to the prolonged pressure exerted on it by poor posture while riding a 2-wheeler or sitting for long hours while driving a car.

Importance of posture while driving

Proper posture ensures that the bones are naturally aligned while the muscles, ligaments and joints work without friction. When you are driving, both the feet are in constant, systematic motion without much room for change in position. This leads to increased stress on the back and hip joints, leading to stiffness over time.

When you straddle while driving a 2-wheeler, it puts pressure on the hip joints as the legs are wide apart for a long time without a change in position. This could lead to hip pain, muscle spasms, joint pain and loss of muscle over time.

Constantly driving with poor posture causes Repetitive Driving Injuries (RDI) that includes a stiff neck, foot cramps, headache or eye strain. Those who drive long distances on a regular basis need to maintain a good posture with the help of a cushion or belt if necessary. Proper posture means that your vital organs are in their natural positions contributing to the functioning of the nervous system. It is essential to exercise to strengthen your back.

M Sreedharan, a sales executive in a manufacturing unit in Kanchipuram has to drive to Chennai and the ECR area every week. "But now, it is difficult to commute and network with the other wholesale dealers and distribution centers as I have been diagnosed with a slipped disc. Though the pain was there for a long time, I kept ignoring it, and now I have been advised complete bed rest for 2 weeks. The doctor has taught me some exercises to strengthen my back," he says. "The pain is excruciating, and I realise that a better posture and taking a break during long drives are a must," he adds.

Just like Sreedharan, there are numerous others on the road who ignore the 'dos and donts' of driving correctly.

Health implications of poor posture from excessive driving

Driving with a slouch or poor posture can be detrimental to your health especially since the chances of Deep Vein Thrombosis is a common affliction along with Repetitive Driving Injuries. Deep Vein Thrombosis leads to swelling in the legs, muscle fatigue and dehydration, while the long term effects of poor posture affect the joints and ligaments which can lead to trouble walking.

It is difficult to believe, but the seats are not designed to help your lower back, and sitting for long hours in a car can cause a strain on it. Seats do not allow for the lumber curve, which affect the ligaments and muscles in that region. The pressure on the spinal vertebrae due to the jolts while riding or driving increases leading to the stress on the back.

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