Your How-To Guide on Good Driving Ergonomics

Repetitive activities can place a lot of strain on our bodies.  In the case of driving, significant stress to the neck, upper and lower back can be multiplied with poor posture. Making sure you properly adjust your seat, steering wheel etc., can go a long way in reducing the stress and strain on your body.

  • Your seat should be angled slightly back at 100-110⁰.  This decreases the pressure on the discs in your lower back. You should be able to easily see over the steering wheel and keep the instruments visible without straining.  If you are too low, try adding a cushion.  This will also help to reduce the vibration your body will absorb from the car.
  • The seat cushion should evenly support your legs and not hit the back of your knees. Pressing against the back of your knees can restrict circulation and cause discomfort in the legs. 
  • Never sit on your wallet!  Sitting on your wallet causes your pelvis and lower back to sit unevenly and will lead to back pain over time.
  • Good lumbar (lower spine) support is essential.  We tend to slouch after sitting for long periods of time.  This flattens our lumbar curve which can lead to back pain.  If you car does not come equipped with adequate lumbar support, use a portable device such as a back vitalizer.
  • Lower the steering wheel to a comfortable height. The less your elbows reach forward and up the lower the amount of strain on your neck and upper back.  Holding the wheel in the 9-and-3-o’clock position will also help to reduce the strain on your neck and upper back.
  • Take a break once an hour when driving for extended periods of time.  Get out of the car and move around.  This will go a long way to reducing the stress on your body.
  • Don’t go straight from driving for an hour to lifting heavy objects out of your vehicle.  Your body needs a few minutes to properly engage your muscle after sitting for a long time.  Get out of the car, do a few light stretches and walk around for a few minutes first.  When you do lift, make sure to lift with your legs.

Follow these tips to reduce your chances of injury from poor driving posture.

 

Dr. Melissa Baird is a chiropractor with Glebe Chiropractic Clinic.  She can be contacted at (613) 237 9000 and followed on Twitter (@GlebeChiro) or Facebook (Glebe Chiropractic).