Dr. Tim Jacobs

Driving for extended periods can put a great strain on your back, neck and hips. Here are five tips on how to reduce that strain.  It’s not always possible to limit your driving, especially if your job involves driving vehicles or having to make long commutes, or maybe just sat long periods in Dubai traffic! However, there are steps you can take to make driving as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

1. Position yourself correctly, move your seat forward just far enough that you don’t have to hunch to reach the steering wheel and adjust the wheel if possible to allow your arms to bend and relax. Your feet should easily reach the pedals so that you can rest your heel in front of them and press without stretching. Adjust rear-view and wing mirrors so you can see without stretching, straining or twisting.

2. Make yourself comfortable, ensure you’re sitting up straight with your hips and knees in line, ideally your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. You can sit on a pillow to help with elevation, and you can place an extra pillow at your lower back for lumbar support.

3. Take regular breaks and stretch, If you’re driving for long periods of time, break up the journey with regular stops. Get out of the car, stretch your legs and take a short walk if you can. Ideally we don’t want to be sat in the same position more 45 minutes at a time.

4. Maintain your vehicle Suspension, steering and tyre pressure can all affect your comfort. Make sure your vehicle is in optimum condition, especially before longer journeys. If you’re driving a company vehicle, your employer should assist with this.

5. Relax! A stressful journey can cause tension in your back, neck and shoulders making any discomfort much more pronounced. If you find yourself getting stressed, be mindful of your posture, do some deep breathing exercises or listen to some relaxing music. If possible, take a break from the road and get some fresh air. 

Do you regularly drive for long periods of time? If it’s causing you pain or discomfort, your chiropractor may be able to provide relief and advise you on how to minimise the impact of driving on your body.

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