People are still spending a lot of time driving their car nowadays. So, today I would like to talk about the three very easy but very important tips for driving that can help you prevent injuries and protect your neck, your back or shoulders from hurting.
1. Pay attention on how you hold on to your steering wheel.
Instead of a very traditional way of holding the steering wheel in the two o'clock, ten o’clock method that makes your shoulders rounded and makes you hunch over, it is now suggested to hold your steering wheel from the bottom, or the four o'clock eight o'clock method.
By doing that, you're able to engage your shoulder blades, the rhomboids, the mid lower trap to stabilize your shoulder blades better, and that decreases the tension that can develop in your neck or shoulder region. It's also a safer way to hold the steering wheel— when an accident happens, the airbag pops out.
If you hold your arms up there, it can lead to shoulder arm injury, or even an eyeball injury because you many hit your eyeball with a hand. If you put your hands at the four o'clock eight o’clock, your nerves are clear from the area where the airbag can potentially pop out into.
So, it's a safer way and also is a better way to hold a steering wheel for your neck and for your shoulders.
2. Find a towel row or a very small pillow to support your back.
It’s not necessary for it to always fit into the back of your chair. But if you have a little pillow, or if you can fold the towel row, put it behind your back.
If they fit into your curled region, you will feel that it supports your spine better. And then you'll have a much better base of support that more stable to sit when you're driving, that's going to help you feel more comfortable.
The back muscles can be a little bit more relaxed, so you don't feel a lot of tension bothering your back.
3. Whenever you need to make a turn while you are driving, instead of turning your neck all the way, use your arm to help.
If you're going to turn to the right, put your arm to the other chair seat and then rotate with your entire trunk so you won’t need to rotate your head to the end range. You can already see further back.
Same thing with the other side, use the arm to reach onto the doorframe and then turn. Again, instead of just turning with your neck, make sure to turn with your arms and your entire body to have a bigger range that's safer for your neck.
These are very important tips to do especially during this holiday season. If you guys are doing any sort of traveling to see family or for vacation, keep these in mind.
With this being said, if you guys have any issues that’s bothering your neck, your shoulder or your back, feel free to reach out to us and we would like to know your condition and help you better. We could give you tips that are more specific to your condition.
If you are interested in any of these options, our number is 512-215-4227.
I'm Dr. Andy Tseng, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist and a pilates instructor as well at CORE. I along with our team of other pilates instructors will be more than happy to help you…