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Top tips for drivers with back pain

Back pain is a frequent complaint reported by drivers, but some simple changes to your driving routine can make a big difference

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Car journeys can cause some back pain from time to time, but if back pain is becoming a persistent issue when behind the wheel, perhaps it’s time to change your driving routine.

Discomfort and lower back pain are frequent complaints reported by drivers, but road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says there are simple solutions that can make a big difference for comfort and safety, and has given its top tips for drivers with back pain.

As GEM chief executive Neil Worth explains, “human beings are not built to sit in a constrained posture, sometimes for long periods of time. No wonder this so often leads to stiffness and reduced mobility, especially among older drivers.”

“Regular breaks on journeys are so important,” says health journalist Susie Kearley. “Getting out of the car, walking about and stretching will help to relieve any muscles feeling the strain. 

“Take a break whenever you feel your back muscles tightening. The more you stop and move, the less likely you are to end up with back pain. If you stretch and move before and after your journey, this can be helpful too, particularly if you’re prone to back problems.”   

Here are GEM’s top tips for avoiding and alleviating back pain for more comfortable driving:

Planning

Take the time to plan any long journeys or trips on unfamiliar roads. Build in time for frequent breaks.

Position

Adjust your seat to ensure you can reach and fully press the pedals without your back moving away from the back of the seat. Keep some bend in your knees, as having them too straight can cause pain.

Posture

Try not to slouch in the driving seat, as this is a common cause of back pain. Leaning forward can increase pressure on the back muscles and spine, so good posture is particularly important on long journeys. 

Pockets

Empty your back pockets before getting into the car. A mobile phone or wallet pushing into your lower back can misalign your spine and cause unnecessary pain. 

Source: GEM Motoring Assist

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.