Is lower back pain something that you deal with on a regular basis, do you ever wonder about the safety of your seat in general or in the event of an accident? Learn everything you need to know about caring for your spine and the safety of your seat here:
Sitting in the drivers seat (or passenger seat, for that matter) constantly subjects your body and spine to force. Whether that be up and down vibrations from bumps in the road, the side-to-side sway caused by turning and lane changes, or the forward and backward motion caused by acceleration and deceleration. The other effect that driving has on the spine is the constant use of a driver’s feet. The right foot is constantly being used to accelerate and brake, and the left is being used on the clutch and to brake – depending upon the preference of the driver. Typically, when a person is seated, their feet are used to support and stabilize the lower body – this doesn’t happen while driving. That stabilization is left up to the spine and back. Between those previously mentioned factors and the design of the seat – driving could potentially lead to serious back problems for some later on.
The abnormal frequency of vibrations that the spine is exposed to while driving can actually lead to high spinal loadings – especially in the lower back. These loadings can lead to discomfort, chronic back pain, posture problems, and even an elevated risk when it comes to back injury. This could be a huge issue for drivers that are responsible for unloading and loading their own trailers.
Ideally, a driver’s seat should have the following qualities:
- Adjustable seat back incline (100 degrees from horizontal is optimal)
- Changeable seat bottom depth (from seat back to front edge)
- Adjustable seat height
- Adjustable seat bottom incline
- Seat bottom cushion with firm (dense) foam
- Adjustable lumbar support (horizontally and vertically adjustable)
- Depth pulsating lumbar support, to reduce static load
- Adjustable bilateral arm rests
- Adjustable head restraint with lordosis pad
- Seat shock absorbers to dampen frequencies between 1- 20 Hz
- Linear front-back seat travel to allow differently sized drivers to reach the pedals
- Seat back damped to reduce rebounding of the torso in rear-end impacts
Although all of these qualities are important, the likelihood of a company or lease purchase driver having those kind of options is slim to none. A few things that can be done to alleviate or prevent driving fatigue are repositioning one’s posture, taking breaks, and using seat accessories ranging from posture correctors and backrests to fleece covers.
Is there something that you to do alleviate back pain while you drive? We would love to hear about it!