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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Back To Driving… How to Save Your Back in a Field Sales Role

Here’s a fantastic article written by my Osteopath, Alan Dryer of Joint Solutions in Milton Keynes.

If you drive for a living, (or if you drive extensively for social reasons!), these are great tips to keep you pain free!

Pardon the obvious wordplay, but here at Joint Solutions, a large percentage of the patients we see have back, neck or arm pain which can be attributed to driving for a living!

The fact is, our bodies haven’t evolved to cope with spending lengthy periods in one position, performing repetitive tasks (steering, clutch, brake, changing gear), and to make matters worse, many drivers don’t adjust the seating in their vehicles as much as they might, to alleviate any possible stress on the body.

Top Tips to Help Your Back When Driving

1) Adjust your seat so that you lean slightly to allow your upper back to rest in a natural position. Sitting bolt upright places a continuous stretch on the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your legs) which in turn, can place a strain on your lower back and pelvis.

2) Make sure you sit high enough – if you don’t, the angle at your hips will be too small – this can produce similar problems to (1) above.

3) Check where you sit in relation to the clutch – if you have to stretch your left leg right out as far as it will go to get the clutch down, you’ll twist your pelvis every time you change gear! Move just close enough that your leg is slightly bent when the clutch is all the way down.

4) We all need to get where we’re going, but try to take a brief break now and again – (it only means pulling into a layby for a minute or two) – stretch your neck in all directions, and if possible, get out, walk round your vehicle and stretch your low back. It sounds time-consuming, but two minutes every now and again, can really help to prevent problems building up.

By the time patients come to see us, their problems have often been building up for years – their bodies tell them it’s time to do something about it, but the damage can’t be undone very quickly – sometimes it takes a considerable length of time.

It’s much better to look after your back and neck to begin with, and perhaps to seek some help to maintain good back health, before it begins to hurt. You wouldn’t wait for your brakes to fail before you took your vehicle to a garage. A regular check up and some mobilisation and muscle treatment could help to prevent all kinds of problems!

Alan Dryer is a Registered Osteopath and runs Joint Solutions a Milton Keynes based multi-disciplinary, practise offering Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Therapeutic Massage, Sports Therapy, Acupuncture, and Reflexology. Each therapist is registered and fully qualified and where necessary, treatment and advice can be drawn from more than one expert, ensuring patients receive the best possible service. Their mission is to provide ‘Effective Care For Every Body’

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