Is the pain in your back due to your car seat?

Lata Jain

When Dr. Vijayraghavan sees a patient with a new complaint about back pain, he automatically asks, “Anything “new” happening in your life?”

Most people insist there isn’t, so he asks another question that at first baffles them: “Do you have a new car?”

A patient with a new pain in the back sometimes will discover it’s the new car — and the unscientific design of his car which does not  support  the low back — that’s triggering the pain, says Dr.Vijayraghavan, orthopedic surgeon.

lata jain

Lata Jain

Sometimes, it’s as simple as reading the owner’s manual to take advantage of the seat adjustment potential to help the lumbar region, he says. Overall, ”the beauty of the modern car seat is it gives you enough adjustments so you can add lumbar support.”

Today driving has become an essential part of the routine of every individual, for work, for shopping and for pleasure. On an average a man drives 30 kms and women about 20 kms. Many of us spend large amounts of time in our cars, and any posture, even good posture can lead to discomfort or pain if held too long.

Modern car designs have come a long way in their design over the past 20 years, with better styling, better features, better fuel efficiency and better comfort. But is there any evidence that driving and the design of modern car, seats might play a role in causing some of the back injuries that plague many Hyderabad is each year?

Your spine is strong and stable when you practice good posture, but when you slouch or disrupt the alignment of the spine, your muscles and ligaments struggle to maintain balance, resulting in muscle fatigue and the onset of `. Slouching can put the equivalent of 40 kgs extra pounds of stress on the lower back. For every inch your head drops forward as you’re slouching, the stress on your spine increases by 6 kgs says Dr. Sachinandha of Blue birds.

This is not a chronic condition and one can reduce the ill effects on long distance driving by following certain simple back pain strategies. Some useful tips for reducing back pain and back problems while long distance driving.

So it’s vital to adopt a good driving posture and to have frequent rest breaks to prevent discomfort and pain.

Common problems are caused by not adjusting your seat correctly, pushing your head forward, and stretching too far. Some tips by Mittal shah, physiotherapist:

While long distance driving, one of the main things to do is to take adequate breaks in between the journeys

In addition to doing lower back muscles and lower abdominal muscles stretching between the driving trips, one has to also do some routines in their house to strengthen their lower back muscles and lower abdominal muscles. Some of the routines that can be tried out include lower body raise and leg raise by lying down on a mat.

Madhav of Carz who specializes in car seats gives some tips on car seats for back pains:

Most car seats, while they may be extremely well engineered with all sorts of clever adjustments, give little or no support to the spine. Many motorists are aware of the sharp outbreak of pain that can occur during a journey, becoming increasingly excruciating as the journey continues, resulting at journey’s end with even more pain caused by rising from a sitting to a standing position

Life does not have to be full of pain and in order to make commuting a more pleasant task. Some cars are already built with proper seats, but in the case of an older car, it is easier to replace the seats than to replace the whole car. Often only one person, usually the driver, requires back support in the car says Xavier car seats specialist at a-z seats.

Today the seats of the car can be used for treating back pain if it is adjustable and can be set into a position that makes the driver feel comfortable. The angle of the backrest, as well as the seat’s distance from the pedals should be adjustable for best results explains Madhav of carz.

Alternatively, a rolled towel or a jumper can be used if there is no lumbar support, or if the available support is insufficient. Ideally, the seat back is set at an angle of 110 to 120 degrees. The more options to change the height and tilt of the seat there are, the better the chance that the user can find a comfortable position says Raghavan who designs scientific chairs for most of the companies.

People who spend a lot of time in their cars can easily develop various back problems. In order to keep the back and the whole body healthy, it is important to opt for car seats that support the back properly and allow for back-friendly driving and riding positions.

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