As the festive season is upon us many will find themselves with long car journeys ahead to visit loved ones. However, hours spent in the car in 1 position, coupled with the stress and anxiety of traffic jams, can leave us getting out the car feeling 10 years older!
We can’t do much about the traffic (sorry!) but getting your car set up well and following a few simple tips can make the journey much more pleasant, leaving you pain-free to enjoy the festivities.
Car Set Up
The degree of adjustment available to you in your car will depend on it’s make, model and year but most modern vehicles will have an array of buttons and levers to play with.
- Start with seat height – make sure you’ve got maximum vision of the road over the steering wheel but not so high your heads touching the roof!
- Move the seat forward so that you can fully depress the clutch and accelerator without overstretching the legs.
- Adjust the seat tilt so that your thighs are supported but you don’t feel pressure behind the knees.
- Adjust the backrest so that you have contact right from the lower back up to shoulder height – try to make sure you are quite upright so that you don’t end up slouched in the seat with your neck craning forwards.
- Adjust the steering wheel height so that your arms are in a relaxed position.
- Adjust the head rest so that its level with the back of the head.
You may need to re-adjust your position as you move other things so play around with it until you feel comfortable and supported. It’s worth spending 5-10minutes doing this before a long journey to prevent hours of pain at the other end! Don’t forget to re-adjust your mirrors to suit once you are happy with your set up.
Here’s a great little guide with some handy tips on how you can set up your car in the best way!
If your car doesn’t have adequate lumbar support consider purchasing an addition lumbar roll to support your lower back. Place this in the small of your back, just above your pelvis. You can also use a rolled up hand towel for this. We stock a range of lumbar supports at the clinic and can advise which style or shape is best for you.
Make sure you stop at least every 2 hours – more frequently if you already suffer with neck or back problems.
When you stop, make sure you get out of your car and walk around for a few minutes. Stretch out your neck, roll your shoulders and gently rotate your trunk from side to side. Reach up above your head, enjoying a full body stitch and take some really big breaths in and out to expand your lungs and rib cage and get the oxygen into your system!
Whilst driving, you can use natural pauses such as red traffic lights to gently stretch out the neck or tilt the pelvis back and forth to relieve any tension that might be building up.
There is so many choices of things to listen to now when we’re tackling long journeys, that can certainly help keep us relaxed and less stressed. Whether it’s a podcast or a favourite playlist, having something to listen to can really help pass the time and keep stress levels reduced.
When you arrive
Stretch when you get out the car, try to move around for a while or go for a walk rather than swapping the car seat straight for the sofa. But try to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise immediately after getting out the car until you’ve loosened up a bit.
Above all, stay safe!