Christmas holidays traditionally see families travelling up or down our beautiful country to spend this special time with relatives.
To help you get there pain free, your Physiotherapist offers the following hints:
- Have niggling back and neck pain checked out before you leave. Long drives will always highlight any spinal problem. Safe, hands on treatment to restore joint and muscle flexibility as well as an exercise program are mainstays of physiotherapy treatment for spinal pain.
- Take care when loading the car. Particularly lifting heavy bags over high boot lids, loading roof racks or connecting trailers. Get a family member to help when necessary.
- Divide your journey into short segments of two hours or less. This avoids driver fatigue and your back will thank you for the break.
- Take advantage of the Driver Reviver campaign ‘STOP REVIVE SURVIVE’ at rest stops throughout the state and enjoy complimentary tea or coffee and a snack.
- During your ‘STOP REVIVE SURVIVE’ get out and have a short walk, this helps stretch your spine and takes pressure off the discs in your low back.
- Check your seat height. Ideally, your hips should be level with, or higher than, your knees. This maintains the spine’s normal contour. A cushion can be helpful, although specific seat wedges are available to correct this problem.
- Check your seat position. When sitting comfortably, extend your straight arms forwards over the steering wheel. The wrists should rest on top of the wheel in this position. Adjust the seat forwards or backwards to suit. Place your hands back in a normal driving position, your elbows should be slightly bent in a position that reduces shoulder and neck strain
- Use a lumbar support. Most car seats offer inadequate low back support. Inexpensive lumbar rolls and back supports help maintain the spine’s normal curves and prevent postural pain in the back and neck.
- Avoid heavy lifting, mowing lawns or gardening on arrival. The first few hours after sitting for long periods are a vulnerable time for back injury. Take care unloading the car. Have a walk or swim, de-stress from the drive before tackling any heavy work.