Being stuck behind the wheel for long stretches at a time can result in a stiff neck. Below are some suggestions to avoid driving-related pain in the neck and shoulders.
Neck and shoulder pain are something that affects all of us at some time or another. While it can be caused by trauma or medical conditions, putting stress on the muscles that support the neck could also be another reason. Activities that result in holding your head in an extended position and using your arms and upper body for long periods of time, such as driving, are often the cause.
Besides the stress placed on the muscles by focusing intensely while driving, the jolting and vibrations while on the road can contribute to a stiff neck. Another factor is the lack of lumbar support in some car seats. Then, of course, let’s not forget the effect of a poor posture.
Here are some tips to prevent (or relieve) neck and shoulder pain while on the road:ADOPT GOOD DRIVING POSTURE
Position your seat close to the steering wheel so that your feet can reach the pedals comfortably. The best angle for the back of your seat is between 95 and 100 degrees. This will enable you to reach the steering wheel and all controls without having to lean forward. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel, and elbows comfortably on the armrests.
SUPPORT YOUR HEAD
Adjust your headrest so that you can rest your head without tilting your neck. Resting your head periodically can help you avoid stiffness in your neck and shoulders.
ADJUST YOUR LUMBAR SUPPORT
If your car offers lumbar support, adjust it so that the curve of your lower spine is well supported. If your car doesn’t, a pillow or a rolled-up towel can be used to maintain the right shape from tailbone to neck.
TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
Stop for a rest if you are going on a long drive. Do some stretches or, better yet, get out of the car and walk about. This will get your circulation going and ease muscle stiffness on long trips.
Driving with poor vision can cause you to crane your neck forward, which puts pressure on your neck muscles. If you’re straining to see while driving, it’s best toget your vision checked.
ADJUST YOUR MIRRORS
Give yourself the widest range of vision with all your mirrors so that you don’t have to move your head around to see properly.
These little adjustments will take the strain off the muscles supporting your neck and shoulders and enable you to arrive at your destination pain-free.