Millions of drivers suffering from neck and back pain

Wednesday 4th April 2018
High rates of neck and back pain among car drivers are leaving millions in need of physiotherapy, a new report highlights. Image: Dusan Ilic via iStock
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Millions of drivers in the UK could be in need of physiotherapy treatment due to spending too long sat uncomfortably behind the wheel of a car, the results of a recent survey suggest.

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) teamed up with Citroen for the research to question 2,066 drivers on whether they suffered from back or neck pain.

Overall, more than three-quarters (79.5 per cent) did, with 13 per cent already linking this to spending too much time at the helm of their vehicle, in an uncomfortable seat that caused them to strain their neck or position their back awkwardly.

Based on this figure, the BCA and Citroen have estimated that as many as 5.5 million car drivers in Britain could be in need of vital physiotherapy to ease their neck and back pain.

Tim Button, BCA member and ergonomic consultant, explained: "Many of my patients have complained of neck or back pain when driving, particularly on long journeys, so it's important that people are aware of the best ways to protect their back health while in their car."

While physiotherapy can help to ease pain and symptoms, if changes are not made to the way a driver sits while at the wheel, their neck and back pain are likely to recur.

Therefore, with this in mind, the BCA has issued some advice to car owners on how they should be positioning their bodies while driving, and physios may want to pass on these recommendations to their patients.

To begin with, the BCA advises that drivers check the alignment of their mirrors and steering wheel, adjusting the seat accordingly before starting their vehicle on each journey. If they need to strain to see in any of the mirrors, the seat will need repositioning further. Ideally, it should end up being slightly reclined, with visibility all around from the position of the mirrors.

Drivers should make sure they are sat upright, leaning against the backrest, taking advantage of their seat's in-built lumbar support.

Lastly, the BCA recommends that regular breaks are taken on long journeys to give the whole body a rest and ease any strain or tension that may be building.

Written by Mathew Horton

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