How to enjoy a pain-free long drive

Regardless of travel time to and from work, one’s seated posture while driving can either contribute to or alleviate back discomfort. Similar to those that sit in an office chair for hours, those with lengthy commutes (an hour or more each way) can have an adverse impact on their back.

First and foremost, it is important to sit with the knees leveled with the hips. Either a rolled up towel or a commercial back support placed between the lower back and the back of the seat for more comfort and support of the natural inward curve of the lower spine.

Drivers are advised to sit at a comfortable distance from the steering wheel. Reaching increases the pressure on the lumbar spine and can stress the neck, shoulder, and wrist, so sitting too far away can aggravate back pain.

However, sitting too close can increase the risk of injury from the car’s airbag. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers (and front-seat passengers) should buckle their seat belts and keep about 10 inches between the center of the airbag cover and their breastbone to reduce the risk of airbag injury yet still be protected by the airbag in the event of a collision.

Good posture combined with body mechanics (the way activities are performed throughout the day) can substantially improve the way one’s back, and neck feels at the end of the workday.

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