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Posted at: Dec 30, 2017, 1:38 AM; last updated: Dec 30, 2017, 1:38 AM (IST)

Sit straight in the driver’s seat

Sit straight in the driver’s seat
Wrong posture while driving can cause spinal problems

Dr Sudeep Jain

Travel has become an intrinsic part of our life these days. Our lifestyle has undergone a tremendous change with driving becoming a primary means of transportation.  Whether it is a daily commute or an extended road trip, we generally end up spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Most of the time, we are unaware of our posture which ultimately leads to back and neck pains. 

Long driving hours often cause stiffness in the back and neck. Also, sitting in the same position for long affects the blood circulation of our body and can cause severe back pain. 

People, many a times, modify their car seats on their own, for instance, removing the head rest. This can be extremely risky as it makes your neck more prone to pain. Remember, that our vehicles are designed in a way that these provide an ideal sitting posture to the driver. So, it is better not to modify the basic structure of seat, as that may lead to some spinal problem.

 In case you consistently feel pain the back while driving, try  changing your posture while driving.  First and foremost, it is important to sit in a posture where both your knees and hips are at the same level. Another thing, adjust your seat at an angle of 100 to 110 degrees, in order to support the upper part of your body. 

One more thing that should be kept in mind while driving is adequate leg space. Always make sure that there is ample leg space for you to move your feet freely in the car. Position your seat in a way that your feet can easily reach the pedals without causing any strain to your body.  Also, your rear view mirror should be adjusted properly so that you can easily view it without causing any problem to your neck.

When going for a long journey, it is always a good idea to take breaks in between to relax your back. Besides, doing some stretching exercises is highly recommended.  

If you are already experiencing pain in the back or neck, use some special seat cushions to support your lumbar spine. The best course in this situation is that one should avoid driving for long stretches, if possible.

Most of the time, these simple yet essential things are not given due attention. A healthy spine is crucial for a healthy body and there is only one way to maintain spinal health and that is proper posture. One’s posture while driving can either contribute to or alleviate back discomfort.

Any ignorance can be damaging to our overall bone structure, especially the spine. As it is said ‘prevention is better than cure’, it is better to look after your body before it cries for attention.

— The writer is a spine surgeon, MGS Hospital, Punjabi Bagh, 

New Delhi

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