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Top 4 Car Seat Adjustments That Can Be Used to Take Stress Off Your Back
By:Arnan Sisson, PT
The first thing you want to do is understand how our spine gets so compressed causing pain and discomfort. Once we figure that out then we can make adjustments in the car that relieve stress and puts you in a more supportive position. Our bodies are not made for prolonged sitting. This causes the muscles in the lower back to weaken, often putting unnecessary pressure on the discs. Unfortunately many of us find ourselves in this position when driving long distances.
A few simple ways we can reclaim our comfort behind the wheel is to raise the seat height as high as you can. When seated on the drivers side and you reach down on the left-hand side there is a toggle that you can pull or a button (in newer cars) that will allow you to adjust the height. You will be looking for about 90 to 110 degrees of bend in the knees, hips, and elbows for not only the best support but also the most blood flow.
You will notice when you sit in a lower chair our hips tend to roll in, subsequently this causes the lower back to curl in as well. By raising the seat height allowing the 90 degree angle, you will be sitting up taller and your hips and back won’t roll forward as much. This allows our spine to maintain its natural curvature putting less stress on our discs.
The second thing you can do is get your seat a little bit closer to the steering wheel. When you're too far away we tend to curl and twist the lower back to reach the steering wheel which, over a period of time adds a low level of stress that further exacerbates the problem. After a couple of months this can lead to terrible back pain that often sticks around, so you will want to get nice and close to the steering wheel (think 90 degrees at the elbows).
The third thing is adjusting the angle of your seat. There have been several studies that showed having your seat at 110-degree angle was the perfect fit to reduce stress to the back. How do you get your seat to 110 degrees? First by sitting in your seat and move the back of the seat to a 90 degree angle then do a slight push back making it 110. This will extend the hip which helps extend the back and get you out of that rounded position.
Last step is purchasing a lumbar roll. A lumbar roll is something we use and recommend to everyone experiencing back pain or discomfort. We simply install on the back of our seat fitted just above the belt line in the curve of your back to assist your stabilizing muscles to hold that position neutral and straight without even thinking about it. You can use this product in your car or even your office chair. We always keep these in stock so one day if you're around, stop on in and grab one! We will even give you a demonstration on how it works and if you’re not completely satisfied you can bring it back in and we will give you a full refund.
We will custom fit your lumbar roll to you in your car, and offer advice on how to set up your office whether working from home or at the office. You will be surprised how good it feels to be properly supported. Don't worry we have your back!
Using these strategies will allow you to better enjoy your vacations, your day-to-day commute to work without concentrating on your back pain. Also, if you’re looking to get more info on how to take off stress, maybe at the office or at home too just give us a ring at (804)493-3256 and we can set up a free phone consultation. We do about one to two of these a week so that we can get a better idea on your ache or pain and the stresses your body faces on a daily basis so we can get you back to enjoying an active life.