So, what you think is Sitting in car same as sitting on a chair?
No, its not! because both the activities are different. When you are driving your hands, arm are higher than when you work at desk, also to operate brakes and /or accelerator you need to extend your legs more and again the vibrations are accompanied because of the vehicles or bumpy roads.
Driving does lead to lot of RSI (Repetitive stress injuries) these include foot cramps, back ache, stiff neck. sore shoulders.
Why we get the pain or associated problems when we drive for long time?
When we sit our pelvis rolls backward and curve of the back flattens out.This increases the pressure in the discs of spine. In this position the discs are less prepared to bear the vibrations. Ligaments are also stretched and slacken if you sit down for long time. After standing up, they still remain slack for a while and cannot support the spine well.
If the seat is not correct it can develop pressure points in buttocks, back of legs and muscle strain in low back. Continuous back and neck muscle work is often required to hold the head position which again leads to strain. Holding foot pedal down over long period may cause stiffness and spasm of legs n low back.
If you are driving heavy duty vehicles like trucks, buses then the whole body vibration stimulates burst of activity which later causes easy muscle fatigue. Also long term exposure to vibration can lead to herniation of the disc in the back as increased pressure because of prolong speeding the damage speeds up.
So lets see some simple corrections which we can do to prevent the injuries:
First and foremost stepping in and out: if you drive large vehicles with high step up or down add extra step or slow down.
1) Make sure you remove all the items from your pockets such as wallet, keys etc. they may compress your tissues.
2)Position items that you may need while driving” sunglass.,tissue, etc near by.
3)If the seat belt is uncomfortable put a small foam on the area of the strap which causes discomfort.
4)Adjust the mirror so you dont have to strain your neck.
5) If the lower back is not supported by the seat, use a lumber support or a small towel roll.
6) Back tilt: least amount of pressure on back occurs when seat is at 100-110 degree reclined seat should completely support your back. If you cannot recline take frequent break from the upright posture
7)Seat cushion: it should be comfortable and support your tail bone completely. Seat tilt of car should allow knees to be slightly lower than hips this opens hip flexors and increase circulation to back and decrease pressure
8) Seat Height: You should be able to see atleast 76 mm or 3 inches over the top of steering wheel.
seat cushion length: if possible adjust seat length so that back of your knees is about 3-6 cm from front seat.
9) Head restraint(head rest)
The head restraint should be till the top of your head, if head restrain can be tilted adjust angle until is practically touching the back of head when you are in sitting position.
Common posture to be avoided:
The death grip, the one arm cool dude” the Wrist resting at 12 o’clock position on steering wheel and fingers flop over the top, arm straight out in front and one arm propped on your window.
1) Select a car that matches your height and suits your work.
2) Change posture as much as possible take frequent breaks recommended is atleast 15 minutes, every 2 hours
3) Place hand on steering wheels so that elbows are close to your side and not so high that you have to reach up for the wheel.
4) Place hands at 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock position this will reduce the amount of strain on shoulders and put hands in safer position.
Avoid lifting after driving long hours because your muscles are tired your ligaments are stretched and disc are at risk of injury, give yourself some time to stretch and relax.
The longest journey begins with a single step towards fitness, not with a turn of the ignition key !!!!