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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Bad back link to driving posture
Many drivers are at risk, warn chiropractors
Thousands of people are damaging their backs by sitting incorrectly in their cars, according to research.

The British Chiropractic Association says that 32,000 people each month visit one of its members with a back problem linked to driving posture.

It says that shorter journeys such as the "school run" can also place the back under immense strain.

The association is offering free "drive-in" clinics where patient's posture can be assessed.

Chiropractic is an increasingly popular therapy for people with chronic joint or muscle pain, and aims to work by encouraging correct posture and manipulation of the joints.

Short journeys

Tim Hutchful, from the association, says that people who sit incorrectly in car seats are asking for trouble.

He said: "There is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you stand up.

"Those most at risk are the people who not only spend long periods of time in the car - but also those who make infrequent short journeys in the car, because it can be compared to an unaccustomed form of exercise."

He said "school run mums" were at risk because they often had to twist and lift while in the car - either dealing with children on the back seat from the front or lifting them or their heavy schoolbags out of the car.

However, he said that long-distance drivers such as company reps were also at risk not only because of the sheer amount of time they spend in the car, but also their wearing of restrictive suits, and inappropriate shoes for driving.

As well as offering free assessments of driving posture at chiropractors, the association has issued a number of tips for drivers.

They include:

  • Relaxing at the wheel: A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine
  • Always adjusting the seat when you enter the car
  • Taking regular breaks from driving - once every two hours or so
  • Clench your buttocks if stuck in traffic - add some side bends and shoulder shrugs if possible
  • Unload items off the back seat from the back doors of the car, rather than the front
  • Don't wear tight clothes while driving

Driving increases back pain risk
30 Oct 01  |  Health

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