Attadale Chiropractic > News & Views > Articles of Interest > Driving Posture

Driving Posture

During the last forty plus years of examining patients at the Attadale chiropractic clinic, driving stress has become a more common topic. Neck and uppper back tension and low back ache accompany many drivers.
Between travelling, commuting, and running errands, many of us have practically made our cars our second homes. While being able to drive is certainly a convenience, the stresses of the road can affect our posture in an adverse way. The task of avoiding some of our less responsible fellow motorists often causes us to tense up, pulling our head and neck tightly into the shoulders. During a long trip, we may find ourselves slumping, causing us to "lead with our chin" in a head-forward posture.
Either way, the result is a compression of the spine in general, and a reversal of the normal shock-absorbing curve of the neck in particular. These postural changes can lead to misalignments or restrictions (subluxations) of the spine, especially the cervical spine.
In addition to causing or aggravating backache, neck pain and headache, subluxations in the cervical spine may actually make driving more hazardous. Recent studies have demonstrated that reaction time slows down in the presence of cervical subluxation.1,2 The slower your reaction time, the less safe you are as a driver.
There is a simple way to reduce the spinal stress of driving. When you first get into the car, sit tall in the driver's seat. Then, adjust your rear-view mirror. You have just installed a posture monitor in your car! If you shorten your spine by tensing or slumping, you will lose your rear view. That will be a reminder to gently lengthen your spine. This "mirror trick" is especially important during a long trip.
1.                    Kelly DD, Murphy BA, Backhouse DP. Use of a mental rotation reaction-time paradigm to measure the effects of upper cervical adjustments on cortical processing: a pilot study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2000;23:246.
2.                    Todres-Masarsky M, Masarsky CS, Langhans E. The Somatovisceral Interface: Further Evidence. In: Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M (editors). Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach. Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001.


Your Chiropractor

Michael McKibbin passed his Iowa Basic Science and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.

Since then both wonderful staff and patients have contributed toward decades of valued experience in his family practice.


October 2010
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