Since starting at Capture Therapeutics, I have been commuting an hour to and from work every day, like millions of other Canadians. I find myself attempting to get into the most comfortable position on my commutes, but they are not always optimal. As clinicians, we place a lot of importance on proper posture and ergonomic set-up at work to try and prevent and treat associated dysfunctions in our clients such as neck and shoulder pain, headaches, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands…etc. (check out our Instagram and other blogs for more information). Often, the time spent driving and the position we sit in is overlooked but can lead to additional stress being placed on the neck, back, hips, and lower legs. This additional stress can cause joint and muscle pain, cramping, and decrease circulation. There are several factors to consider making your commute as safe and easy on your body as possible.
- Hips and knees level so the pressure is distributed along the back of legs evenly
- Allow for around 2-3 fingers width of space between the back of knees and end of the seat
- Seat high enough that the road can be seen clearly without obstruction
- Seat forward enough to be able to fully depress pedals with a slight bend in the knees
- Seat reclined 100-110 degrees
- If there is adjustable lumbar support, position it in the curve of the lumbar spine
- Headrest positioned in the middle of the back of the head
- Steering wheel 25-30cm away from the chest allowing for a slight bend in the elbows when gripping wheel.
- Mirror correctly adjustment to prevent unnecessary eye and neck strain
- There are three forms of distracted driving. Manual distraction involves physically taking your hands off the steering wheel. Visual distraction involves taking your eyes off the road. Cognitive distraction involves any task that takes your mind off of driving. Using your cell phone encompasses all three forms of distraction.
- According to CAA, distracted driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident almost 4x, accounting for close to 1.6 million crashes annually, with the number of fatal crashes surpassing those of fatal crashes due to impaired driving.
- Perform a light stretching routine before and after your commute
- Shift your driving posture every 20-30 minutes
- If driving for more than 2 hours, take a break to get out, stretch and walk for 5-10 minutes
- If commuting early in the morning or late at night, ensure steps have been taken to avoid drowsy driving (i.e. getting the proper amount of sleep or consuming appropriate amounts of caffeine)
- Use a hands-free device if a call must be made.
Remember, your safety and the safety of other commuters should be of the highest priority when driving to and from work. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in this post, do not hesitate to visit one of our clinics for personalized care from our multidisciplinary team.
Alex, Physiotherapist (Provisional)
Grand Falls,NB: (506)473-7064