Most ergonomic seating guides focus on your office desk setup or workstation. The other times where we spend quite a bit of time sitting down is in the driver's seat of our vehicles. Perhaps not as much as at our desks but significant enough to contribute to back strain.
So are you seated right? Here are some tips:
1. Seat Height - The seat should be high enough so that you can comfortably see the instruments and the road. Your hips should be in line with your knees or slightly higher. If your seat cannot be raised/raised high enough, use a cushion.
2. Seat Forward/Backward position - The seat should be positioned forward/backward so that you can comfortably reach and depress all the pedals without your back leaving the seat. Note that bringing the seat forward will raise your knees relatively to your hips so check on the seat height again.
3. Seat Recline - Recline the back of the seat to approximately 100-110 degrees
4. Steering Wheel - Adjust the steering wheel upwards and towards you to minimise reach. Having to hold your arms out straight to reach the steering wheel tires the neck & shoulder muscles over time.
5. Headrest - Check it is tilted and raise to fully support your head.
6. ALSO - Change your grip on the steering wheel occasionally. If available, adjust your lumbar support every couple of hours if on a long drive. Stop regularly and get out of the car to stretch out.
If you have never heard of you Psoas muscle and its relationship to your abdominal muscles and back pain then here's some interesting reading discussing the relationship of these muscles.
This article also discusses the Psoas muscle and walking and touches on stretching techniques for the Psoas muscle.
Lesley is a registered and qualified Massage & Lymphatic Therapist based in Queenstown. She trained at the Canterbury College of Natural Medicine and has a special interest in sports rehabilitation & recovery, chronic pain especially low back/hip pain and reduction of lymphoedema.