Driving with back pain

Driving with back pain is no fun for anybody. Heading out into the country for business or pleasure shouldn’t be an experience you dread. Travel should be comfortable, whether it’s exciting or routine. Long drives, even when necessary and dreary, are luxuries afforded to us in this age of the automobile. But driving with back pain can make traffic jams much more than a nuisance. Long hours on the road can cause new back problems or aggravate existing ones. The vibration, acceleration, deceleration and jolting of your vehicle can damage the discs between your vertebra. The vibrations cause a sort of mechanical damage to your discs that can worsen with time.

It is generally acknowledged that if possible it’s better to stay active when suffering from back problems rather than spending prolonged periods lying in bed.  The regular physical exercise which involves moving the back, neck and shoulders is an ideal way to strengthen the muscles and keep joints mobile.  Unfortunately for many who drive for long periods, this means more time sat in the same position and less movement which can have knock-on effects on our neck, spine, shoulders and hips. Over time this might lead to poor posture and pain. We have pulled some tips together for all drivers whether you currently experience any back issues or not.

  • Empty the back pockets of your trousers or jackets. Sitting on items such as your wallet, keys or phone can move your spine out of alignment and can also be very uncomfortable.
  • Adjust the back of your car seat to touch the back of your bottom and the back of your shoulders. The seat will need to have a slight incline backwards which will support the natural inward curve of your back. Reclining the seat too far back can strain your neck and head as you will keep having to lean forward to see out of your windscreen. It pays to take some extra time to position yourself correctly, especially if taking long drives.
  • Your headrest should be adjusted so that the back mid-section of your head meets the middle of the cushion when you rest your head back.
  • Position your steering wheel if possible, by moving it up or down, to a position that suits you best and so your hands sit at about 10 to 2 on the wheel. Sit close enough to the wheel to have a soft bend in your elbows. Sitting too far away can cause you to reach too far, which puts more pressure and stress on the spine, neck, shoulder, and wrists.
  • Position your rearview and wing mirrors correctly, so you do not need to strain your neck by pulling it forward to look and see behind you safely.
  • Your back muscles can tighten and stiffen when seated in the same position for too long so be sure to take regular breaks. You should aim to take a 15-minute break at least every two hours or 100 km. Use this time to move around and stretch. Breaks can improve your posture throughout the journey and your concentration.

Lower Back Pain

Very few cars come equipped with seats that provide proper lumbar support. Uncomfortable seats or improper support is problematic during extended road trips or long hours in traffic. In many cases, the design of your vehicle and its physical forces are both working against you. Adding extra support, though, can make a serious difference.

Driving a manual transmission or stick shift may be enjoyable, but it places more strain on your lumbar back because you’re constantly pressing the clutch. Automatic vehicles are a more practical choice when driving with back pain becomes unbearable.


Try to relax while you drive. It’s common to get tense through your neck and shoulders. The tension you hold in your neck and shoulders can lead to tension headaches and exacerbate the driving with back pain even more. If you find yourself gripping the wheel too tightly, loosen up. It helps to sit close enough to the wheel so that your elbows are slightly bent. Remember that you don’t have to complete your trip in a single push. Get out and take a brief walk. After driving for extended periods, your back can weaken; simple stretches or bending can lead to injury. So, resist the temptation to indulge in that big dramatic stretch at the journey’s end. Stick to smaller, more controlled stretches until your spine has recovered enough to handle larger movements.

Improve the Comfort of Your Commutes

Proper seat adjustment is the first step toward easing your pain. You should sit relatively close to the steering wheel, but not so close that it compromises your safety. When you don’t force yourself to reach for the wheel, it reduces stress on your lumbar, neck, shoulders and wrists. Make sure your back is centred against your seat. Adding some sort of lumbar support may be necessary. If your knees are slightly higher than your hips, it takes the pressure off both your hamstrings and lower back.

FOR SAFE RELIABLE MOTORING….. Car Problems and Solutions.

You are driving along the highway one day when you find your vehicle slowing down and eventually coming to a halt. You step out of your vehicle to find out what the problem is, but you can’t seem to figure out where the car defects are and what is the cause of these sudden malfunctions. Even the most skilled and competent vehicle owner will experience his fair share of mechanical issues and car problems.

The list of car faults is endless – from flat tires, unstable steering wheels, and even a faulty engine, there are minor and major car issues that you might or might not be able to resolve on your own.

Reaching the destination safely is the best reward for any motorist! Should you encounter any motoring issues, remember that Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance provides 24/7 Roadside Assistance Service for our Members and the motoring community. Whilst it’s possible to reduce your risk of breakdown, it’s an unfortunate reality that even the most expertly maintained and superbly driven vehicle may break down due to unforeseen circumstances. In these instances, Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance breakdown cover can make all the difference. Call us or  Whatsapp at 0780 579 261/0718 084 297 / 0736 523 424 Email:info@drivezim.co.zw and Join Today.

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