A specific back pain relief car seat, or any kind of effective lumbar and back support device fitted to your car seat, can suddenly make driving a pleasure again, and make it a lot easier and less painful to get out of the cat after long journeys.
If you do a lot of driving, you’re probably in desperate need of some back pain relief. Well, an acquaintance of mine, a strapping, clean-living fellow in his thirties, recently threatened to put his furniture-removal business up for sale. If you do a lot of driving, you can probably guess what caused him to think about selling a successful enterprise. It wasn’t the lifting, even though he routinely picked up many heavy items during the course of a day. It was sitting behind the wheel that did the damage. According to survey participants, car (and lorry) seats are only outdone in terms of back discomfort by restaurant seats, soft couches and sofa beds.
What can you do about this? If you’re wealthy, perhaps buying a Volvo or Mercedes will help, as the seats in those cars are great for lower back pain relief. US survey participants mentioned the unusual comfort of these cars, though Joanne, a UK participant, preferred the Renault Scenic:
‘Ensure you choose a car with a good sitting posture when you next buy a car – I like the Renault Scenic as the sitting position is similar to a chair with my legs bending at the knees rather than stuck out too far in front and applying too much leverage on my spine when I brake. Remember to check out the access to the boot too. Can you load up your shopping easily?’
But wealthy or not, there is a great deal you can do to improve your comfort in a car.
Here’s some tips to get some back pain relief if you drive a lot.
Buy or make your own car seat. Probably the best way, and certainly the cheapest, is to buy two pieces of plywood from a lumberyard – one that is seat-sized, the other tall and wide enough to support your back. If you’re handy, cover both pieces of wood with 1.3 cm (half inch) of firm foam rubber and a cover, then connect the two pieces of wood with hinges. If you’re not handy, simply place a chair back support or rolled-up towel between your back and the backrest board, and a seat cushion or a thrice-folded beach towel on the seat board.
My next tip for low back pain relief is to get as close to the wheel as you can without discomfort. Never mind the image of the racing-car driver who holds the wheel at arms’ length, or the feeling many of us have that the only people who sit close to the wheel are nervous wrecks who drive at 50 km (30 miles) per hour on motorways. The point is that sitting close to the wheel will elevate your knees and enable you to place your free foot flat on the floor.
Sit at a right angle. Tilt the back of your seat so that it is nearly perpendicular (90 degrees).
Use the armrest on the driver’s side if you can. You might also want to create an armrest to support your other elbow. Nothing fancy is needed – a towel-covered box, a couple of cushions or pillows – just about anything that comes up to armrest height will do.