B esides the annoying drivers who slam on their brakes every minute and the occasional “Rubber Neckers,” a daily commute can literally be a pain in the butt! Prolonged sitting without positional changes can cause irritation and stress in the lumbar spine, making sitting uncomfortable. Sitting leads to higher pressure between the discs of the vertebrae compared to standing, as well as pressure on the tissues of the back such as the ligaments, extensor muscles, and cartilage.
The average person spends at least an hour commuting back and forth to work.
The question is, how can you make your commute pain free?
First and foremost, it is important that your hips are level. Do you ever carry a big wallet in your back pocket? Do you ever sit on your jacket and feel slightly propped up to one side? In both of these scenarios, an imbalance in your pelvic floor could be a potential cause of low back pain. Extended sitting on a wallet can also compress your piriformis muscle increasing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Thankfully, the solution is quite simple—make sure there in nothing between you and the seat, except your pants!
Are your seat settings adjusted correctly?
Most cars are equipped with multi-contour seat adjustments to help support your spine–take advantage of it! Take the extra minute to tailor the appropriate seat adjustment to your height and leg length. Check out this article on properly setting up your seat (a summary of important points are below).
- Seat Height – Make sure that your hips are level with your knees and that you can comfortably see the road.
- Move the seat forward so that you can press all of the foot pedals without your back losing contact from the seat.
- Recline your seat to about 100°.
- Make sure your headrest is contacting the middle of your head.
- Adjust the lumbar support as needed – if you feel like your car does not have appropriate lumbar support, try one of the cushions that we sell at our clinics!
- Move the steering wheel down and towards you. If you were to extend your arms out in front of you, the crease of your wrist should line up over the steering wheel.
One your seat is adjusted properly, adjust your mirrors. After this point, if your mirrors ever seem like they are in the incorrect position, you’ll know that you need to fix your posture!