(Please note this information is taken from BACKPAGE (vol.1 11/97))
Incorrect postural alignment can lead to a variety of musculoskeletal and organic problems, such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease and muscle and ligament damage. Even simple, everyday postural slips can lead to larger problems if left uncorrected. There are many common bad postural practices: Cradling the phone between the shoulder and ear, sitting improperly at your office workstation, toting a back pack over just one shoulder or assuming the "couch-potato slump" (falling asleep with your head on the arm rest).
The secret to good posture is understanding and maintaining the balance among the spine's four natural curves. Two forward curves at the neck and lower back, and two backward curves at the mid-back and sacrum (base of spine/tailbone). These curves are necessary to give resiliency and bounce to the spine, which helps it to absorb impact. If the curves are too flat, ligaments and muscle can become strained. If the curves are too accentuated, we cannot transfer our body weight efficiently. Movement can become difficult, draining our energy.
Good postural alignment contributes to deep, full breathing, as well as to healthy organ function, good circulation and increased energy. Because of the relationship between the bones, organs and other systems of our bodies, good posture is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health.
Aching back, stiff muscles, cramps...even without the traffic jams, driving a car is hardly a relaxing experience. Here are a few suggestions to increase your driving comfort:
Set the backrest at about an 80 degree angle.
Sit straight, with your hips back, while maintaining your back's normal curve. If necessary, place a small back roll or rolled towel in the small of your back and under your thighs.
Adjust the distance from the steering wheel so that your knees and elbows are slightly bent. If you are too close, the air bag could injure you in the event of an accident.
Set the headreast level at the middle of your head rather than the back of your neck, so your head will not ramp over the neck support in the event of an accident. Normally, you head should NOT be against the headrest.
Don't drive with your toes. Your right heel should be resting on the floor. With a manual shift, the same should apply to the left foot. In an automatic, stretch out or bend the left leg which ever is most comfortable.
Hold the steering wheel with both hands at the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions.
Change your position from time to time to avoid stiff joints and muscles.
Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket. This may cause your back to twist or put pressure on the sciatic nerve.