The way you’re sitting while driving could be causing you back problems
British motorists are unknowingly causing themselves health problems while driving just by the way they are sitting.
Earlier this year it was revealed that drivers are spending 31 hours a week stuck in traffic and even longer commuting to work.
With all of this time being spent behind the wheel of the car every week drivers are being urged to take precautions to protect themselves.
According to new research, the way motorists are sitting is turbocharging the onset of back problems.
Three quarters of drivers in the UK are complaining that back pain is being brought on from spending so much time behind the wheel.
This pain is leading to spinal injuries, joint pain and posture issues for many motorists up and down the country.
When asked, only 30 per cent of drivers are sat in the right position in the car, and just 42 per cent could identify the right position that they should be sitting at.
These issues are affecting drivers of all age groups and genders.
However, this pain was more apparent with motorists aged 25-34 (83 per cent) and women appeared to be more affected than men (with 79 per cent admitting to problems, compared to 71 per cent of males).
The research, by auto retailer Motorpoint, also revealed the cities in the UK where driver discomfort is highest.
Poor driving positions can lead to spinal pain in the neck and lower back
It was found that drivers from Bristol suffer the most pain when driving (91 per cent), followed by Belfast (82 per cent), Cardiff (79 per cent), London (78 per cent), with Birmingham rounding off the top 5 list (77 per cent ).
Claire Henson-Bowen, Principal Physiotherapist at Bespoke Wellbeing explained that: “Poor driving positions, especially if repetitive or for long journeys, can lead to spinal pain in the neck and lower back.
“This can create areas of joint stiffness, muscle tightness and altered posture.
“We recommend the following top tips to help keep you become pain free whilst behind the wheel. Keep the seat as close to the wheel as is comfortable so you can easily reach the wheel with your elbows relaxed.
“Always adjust the back rest recline so it supports your spine without leaning too far back. Ensure all mirrors are adjusted before you start your journey to avoid excessive twisting. Build in rest stops for long journeys to get out and stretch your legs (every 1-2 hours).
“Outside of the car, we of course recommend you keep a fit and active lifestyle which should include exercises to strengthen your back muscles and reduces tension with stretches.”
Tim Blakey, Physiotherapist, certified Precision Nutrition coach and creator of Pr1mebody commented:“Awareness is key.
“Do you slump to one side with your elbow on the centre console/ window/door? Is your seat cushion bulged at the sides? If so, try to balance these out.
Drivers could be causing themselves long term back problems
“The key isn’t to try and sit with perfect posture 24/7. That’s unsustainable and actually impossible.
“The most important thing we can do is move more. This may mean taking frequent opportunities to get out of the car and walk/ stretch.”
Alison Weatherley, Head of Marketing at Motorpoint, said: “For many of us, driving is an essential part of our everyday lives, whether it’s for getting to work, going shopping, or just going out and about, it is likely that we can be spending numerous hours each week behind the wheel.
“When we are driving, it’s essential to look after yourself and make yourself comfortable for long journeys. Not only will this ease the stresses that you’re putting your body through, but it will also help allow you to be as sharp and focused at the wheel as possible.”