Are you experiencing pain whilst you drive


Are you experiencing pain whilst you drive

For many, driving can be an enjoyable experience that one looks forward to. It can mean some much-needed alone time away from the family, listening to our favourite tunes on the commute to work, catching up on the latest podcast or current affairs or finally being able to listen to that audiobook we purchased months ago. However, there are some who dread getting behind the wheel and into the car due to the back pain they experience when doing so.

Driving can be stressful – traffic, road rage and inconsiderate drivers make it so. However, not all “driving stress” is caused by external factors. Your posture whilst driving and the manner in which you jump into/out of the car can lead to back pain, as well as a lack of lumbar support and vibrations through the body during travel. The poor or incorrect positioning of your back, legs and/or neck can put strain on the spine, causing discomfort and back ache. Sometimes the design of our cars seats and its incorrect setting can result in our backs becoming tight and stiff. Studies have shown that the constant
vibrations to the back whilst in a car can increase your risk of experiencing back pain or sciatica.

If you are part of the large group that experience back pain whilst driving, read further as following tips may help you minimise your pain when you take the wheel:

      1. Positioning of the driver’s seat and your driving posture:
        This is one of the easiest changes to make, a comfortable seat is crucial for avoiding pain whilst you are driving. Adjust your seat so that you are sitting relatively close to the steering wheel, without jeopardizing your safety. A steering wheel that is within easy reach will reduce the strain placed on your neck, back, wrists and shoulders.
        To avoid straining and stretching yourself to reach the pedals, make sure that your knees are never higher than your hips and that the angle of your back rest is between 100 – 110 degrees. Ensure that your head rest is at the middle of head, to keep your neck and back in a neutral position, in the correct posture. When seated your shoulders should rest slightly behind your hips.
      2. Create Lumbar Support: Be sure to centre yourself back against the backrest for maximum back support. It might be necessary to add a lumbar support accessory (such as chair cushion or coccyx pillow) as many vehicles aren’t designed to provide adequate lumbar support. You can also roll up a sweatshirt and place it behind the small of your back to provide support when driving.
      3. Adjust your grip on the steering wheel: Recent studies have shown that changing the position of your hands to 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock increase your safety in case the airbags are deployed and allows you to rest your elbows on the armrests, which will help to alleviate pain experienced in the upper back.
      4. Use your cruise control: Cruise control will allow you to place both your feet on the floor for brief periods, thus distributing your weight more evenly, relieving pressure from your joints.
      5. Heat your seats if possible:Heat can help relax tight muscles and joints, decrease pain and increase the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients. If you don’t have heated seats in your vehicle, you can purchase a heated seat cover to place over your driver’s seat.
      6. Take regular breaks:Sitting in one position for extended periods of time will make likely make your back muscles stiff, potentially causing muscle spasms and aches. To prevent this, try to make regular stops during your journey so you can step out of your vehicle, stretch your muscles and move around briefly to improve blood circulation and ease muscle tension.

Remember, it is not only the driver who may experience back pain when travelling, the passengers may also be affected and can follow the above guidelines as well.

If you suffer from back pain whilst driving, visit us as OsteoVision to diagnose the cause of your pain or discomfort and create a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.


Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Is Your Driving Posture Causing You Pain?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 December 2021].
Saratoga Spine. 2021. Back Pain While Driving: Causes and Treatment – Saratoga Spine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 December 2021].
Vroomen-Durning, M., 2016. Back Pain and Driving – Back Pain Center – [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 December 2021].
Yanni, B., 2019. Best Ways to Prevent Back Pain While Driving | Spine INA. [online] Spine INA. Available at: [Accessed 12 December 2021].