Back pain when driving? Check your wallet!

BACK PAIN: Apply an ice pack after a long journey.

AS August draws to a close many people are preparing to drive home again and long distance driving often results in back pain.

Lowered, tipped-back seats make the legs too straight, placing strain on the hamstrings, pelvis and lower back. The neck then tilts forward to look ‘straight ahead.’

A recent survey found that male drivers tend to sit with legs fully extended straining the back muscles, and women tend to sit too close to the wheel, tightening back muscles.

So here are my top tips on how you can stay comfortable while driving:

Are you straight?
With your hands in prayer position they should be in the centre of the steering wheel. Now place both hands on the steering wheel at ‘10’ and ‘2’ – you should see equal amounts of both legs.  

Enough headroom?
You should be able to comfortably place a fist on top of your head.

Check your right leg
After driving for a short while put your hands on the steering wheel and look down again. Is your right leg level with your left?

Check your wallet
If you carry your wallet or phone in a back pocket this changes the position of your hips.

Check your left leg
Do you float your left leg above the pedal? This can cause muscle fatigue in the leg as well as strain in your ankles.

How’s your seat?
Get a small cushion or rolled up towel and apply gentle pressure at waist height. Your elbows should be gently bent with hands on the steering wheel and your back and thighs entirely against the seat.

Getting stressed can increase muscle tension. Every time you stop for a traffic light inhale and lift your shoulders high, then exhale and drop them down. On long journeys try and stop every one or two hours and walk.

Apply an ice pack to the lower back for 10 minutes after a long journey to help relieve pain.


For more information on back pain and sciatica contact us on 952 883 151 or visit

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