In the modern world, people use their cars daily and therefore may spend long hours in a seated position. This forced position may not always be comfortable, and in the long run may contribute to severe back problems. Back pain can also originate from other sources. For example, women often suffer from menstrual back pain, and they may also suffer from back pain during pregnancy.
Life does not have to be full of pain, and in order to make commuting a more pleasant task, it is worth investing in car seats that treat back pain. Some cars are already built with proper seats, but in the case of an older car, it is easier to replace the seats than to replace the whole car. Often only one person, usually the driver, requires back support in the car. In such cases, replacing only one seat may be sufficient. Car seats for treating back pain can be purchased from retailers who deal in car parts. They can also be conveniently purchased through online auction sites such as eBay.
Reasons for Back Pain in the Car
Back pain in the car usually occurs because the car is too small. Many cars are designed for short journeys, and therefore their seats do not provide enough support for the spine. The seats in many cars are best suited for people who are smaller than average, so taller people may suffer from back discomfort when driving around in a small car. The suspension in small cars may not be designed for long drives, and the poor ergonomic design of the car may also cause back pains. In small cars, the steering wheel is often set at an angle in order to save on space, and this can affect back muscles and joints. When getting in and out of small cars, people's backs can also be subjected to strain.
The main cause of back pain in the car is pressure on the lumbar curve, the lower part of the back that naturally curves towards the stomach. During long drives, the curve tends to straighten, and this can result in excessive pressure on the discs. The discs also have to withstand the millions of vibrations originating from the car's suspension.
Most cars are relatively low to the ground and have limited leg room, which can lead drivers to recline the seat too far back in order to straighten the legs. In this position, the neck is flexed forward, and this puts lots of pressure on the neck as well as on the lower back, the pelvic area, the legs, and the arms.
Features of Car Seats for Treating Back Pain
Car seats can come with several useful features that help to treat back pain. Adjustability is probably the most important feature, although headrest design and lumbar support are also essential.
A car seat can be used for treating back pain if it is adjustable and can be set into a position that makes the driver feel comfortable. The angle of the backrest, as well as the seat's distance from the pedals, should be adjustable for best results. The angle of the backrest should be in such a position that the steering wheel can be reached with bent arms. The tilt of the seat should also be adjustable, so that the driver can press the pedals down to the floor without having to press too hard.
A car seat with a headrest can help to support the neck and prevent neck pain, which can lead to headaches. The headrest should be aligned with the top of the head, and the angle should be such that there is less than 2 cm of room between the head and the headrest. The headrest should keep the head upright, and should not be tilted too far forward.
Drivers most commonly complain of back aches in the lumbar region, the lower portion of the back. In order to prevent this, it is worth looking into car seats that offer lumbar support. Alternatively, a rolled towel or a jumper can be used if there is no lumbar support, or if the available support is insufficient.
Testing Car Seats
There are five simple tests that allow a driver to determine whether or not a car seat is likely to be back-friendly. These tests help to determine if a car seat fits the driver's needs.
The Kerb Test
The kerb test is a test of how easy it is to get out of the car, and of whether the car is too high for the driver. During the kerb test, the driver should step out of the car with the right foot, and put that foot on the ground as one would when exiting the car. The lower leg should be in a vertical position. The height of the car is correct if the right thigh slopes down towards the knee. If the right knee is higher than the right hip, the car is too high, and may be difficult to exit.
The Look Down Test
If the car seat is right for the driver, then it should be possible to see equal amounts of both legs when looking down between the arms. During the test, the hands should be placed on the steering wheel evenly when looking down at the legs.
The Fist Test
The fist test is performed when the seat is in a normal driving position. In this position, the left hand is made into a fist and placed on the top of the head. If the fist fits between the head and the ceiling of the car, then there is sufficient headroom.
The Praying Test
In the praying test, the driver puts his or her hands together as when saying a prayer. If the wheel is placed properly and not offset, then the driver is pointing at the centre of it. In case of an offset steering wheel, the driver starts to rotate the spine in order to compensate, and this can cause back strain.
The Right Leg Test
The right leg test involves looking down at the right foot to check whether it is in line with the right thigh. This test should be performed after driving for awhile.
Making Existing Car Seats Back-Friendly
In order to improve back health, it is not always necessary to buy new car seats. This can be rather expensive, especially when they all need to be changed. Some simple accessories may also help to relieve and prevent back pain.
Adjusting the Car Seat
Sometimes, simple adjustments to the car seat can be made to remove back pain altogether. Ideally, the seat back is set at an angle of 110 to 120 degrees. The more options to change the height and tilt of the seat there are, the better the chance that the user can find a comfortable position. The base of the seat should support the backs of the thighs, but should not touch the knees. Sometimes it is possible to change the position of the seat back, and thus to change the length of the seat base as well. The front of the seat base should be higher than its back.
Back Support Products
When a car seat lacks lumbar support, it is still possible to improve the situation with special accessories. Lumbar support products for cars usually come as seat covers, which can be attached to the seats so that they stay in place easily. A lumbar support accessory can hang from the headrest or be tied around the seat, and supports the natural lumbar curve of the back. Full-length back support is a step up from lumbar support, as the item reaches from the base to the shoulder level, supporting the whole back. Whole seat covers also cover the base, besides the seat back, and offer continuity. They may combine the full-length support with a wedge. Wedges are also available on their own, and can be used to level the seat base, which is useful when the seat base is not adjustable.
Buying Car Seats for Treating Back Pain on eBay
If you want to buy a new car seat on eBay, you can start looking for one by entering the search terms into the search box that you can find at the top of any eBay page. After you receive the initial search results, you can sort them by auction time or price. If you are buying car seats for a car that you already have, it is best to use the car make and model in the keywords in order to ensure that you find a car seat that fits your car. Seats are quite hefty items, and posting them may turn out to be rather expensive. Therefore, it is a good idea to look for local sellers who may agree to arrange a local pick up that is convenient for both parties. This can help to save on postage as well as on time.
If you are looking for car seat covers that can help with back pain, word your search accordingly. Read through the item listings and check the measurements in order to find a cover that fits your car seat and your body. If in any doubt, feel free to reach out and contact the seller.
People who spend a lot of time in their cars can easily develop various back problems. In order to keep the back and the whole body healthy, it is important to opt for car seats that support the back properly and allow for back-friendly driving and riding positions. There are five tests that help to determine whether a car seat is good for the back or if changes need to be made. These include the fist test, the right leg test, the praying test, the look down test, and the kerb test.
Quite often, the car itself can determine whether back issues are likely to arise. Small, low cars are generally worse options, because they do not provide enough legroom for taller individuals and often are not as ergonomic as bigger cars. However, even small cars can be optimised to avoid back strain if the seats are adjustable and can be placed in a comfortable position that allows room for movement. Often, car seats feature lumbar support for the lower back area, and if they do not, it is possible to buy special seat covers that provide the necessary support.