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The Everyday Series: Driving

Drive comfortably and correctly – Pain free

Most people drive or at the very least spend some time in a car every day. It is important to have a healthy posture and keep bad habits away.

Seat Height

First things first we want to adjust the height of your seat so your hips are in line with the centre of your knees or higher. This will help prevent your hip flexors from constantly activating and getting tight. This will help with posture, lower back pain and even digestion issues!
If after lifting your seat to its maximum height your hips are still below your knees you should try using a pillow or wedge to sit on. Not only will this help with the alignment but it will also reduce vibration through your body, this can also help aggravate injuries.
Our last check for seat height is making sure the backs of our knees aren’t resting against the chair. This will decrease blood supply to the legs – you should be able to get at least two fingers behind your knees.

Seat position

To save those knees from any extra stress we are going to want to move the seat closer or further from the wheel so that you can completely press the pedals to the floor without your lower back coming away from the seat. The angle of your knee should be 20-30.
Don’t forget to rest your foot on the rest when not using the clutch! This will help relieve stress in the hip and pelvis.

Seat Tilt

Older car models took advantage of physics in their seat design. Tilting the front of the seat higher than near the upright at the back of the chair (which ideally would be 100-110 deg) it helped prevent sliding forwards when braking. This was pretty helpful at the time but not great for out posture and no longer needed as there is pre-tension held in modern seatbelts that prevent falling forwards when breaking. This means you will want to have the seat as horizontal as possible.

Headrest

In an age of working at a desk and using mobiles our head loves to drift a bit too far forwards. Sorting out posture takes time but having a correctly position headrest will help remind you when you’re driving at least. Your ears should be in line with the centre of your shoulders. This is difficult to check but generally if you imagine trying to give yourself a double chin this is normally a much better position for your neck. Once in this position pull the headrest into contact covering your entire head (not just your neck)

Steering wheel

When stationary, you should be able to sit with your shoulder blades pressed back into the chair and, with a straight arm, your wrist should be able to bend over the edge of the steering wheel. Then, when driving, you should find that you have a bend in your arm of around 120 degrees. Where adjustable, the steering height should allow a clear view of the dashboard with your palms just lower than your shoulders.

By Tristan White MOst DO ND