Over-the-road truck drivers, for example, spend the majority of their day sitting. Recent studies have connected too many hours sitting to a variety of health problems, including chronic back pain, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes. Too much time sitting can reduce blood flow and shorten your life!
The issues with prolonged sitting are the inactive lifestyle it creates and the muscle pain that develops from sitting incorrectly.
There are however, several strategies that can help you cope with sitting all day.
- Do not sit on your wallet! It unlevels your hips making it hard for you back to be OK with long periods of sitting.
- Position your rear view mirror while you have good posture in your seat. This will prevent you from slouching in your seat because you won’t be able to effectively see into your rearview mirror when you do
- Take breaks and walk – with long distance driving, movement though out the day is good!
- Take a 15 minute walk when you are done driving
- Stand up! Once done driving, whether watching TV or working on a computer – STAND!
If you have to remain seated, your best bet is to find a comfortable, supportive chair that keeps your natural curve while sitting. Once we start to slouch or lean forward in our chair, we start to develop muscular imbalances and tension in muscles, causing the muscle to fatigue faster and making it more likely for your back to become injured and cause pain.
The best kind of seat for a driver has an adjustable lumbar support so you can modify your chair and your position in it as often as necessary. Different seats fit different body types, so make sure your seat is the perfect fit for your body. Your hips should fit comfortably on the chair, the lumbar support should be a good fit to the small of your back, the armrests and seat should move so your knees and elbows can be at 90 degrees while your feet can be flat on the floor.
If your low back or hips hurt you may be slouching or your chair might not fit you well. Try to adjust your seat to maintain the normal curve in the lower spine. Tilt the seat of the chair to angle slightly down. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between your knees and the edge of the seat to alleviate pressure on the legs.
Also consider using an alternative desk chair that incorporates movement or supportive cushions behind the lower back. If this doesn’t help and you have pressure in your back which is creating pain, numbness or tingling then it is probably time to see a chiropractor!