If you live in South Snohomish County, statistics show that there’s a good chance you commute to work in King County, and that you drive your car. This may not come as a surprise to those of you making the daily drive to Seattle or Bellevue, but in addition to being mentally stressful, driving in rush-hour traffic can also take a toll on your body.
So whether you are a daily commuter or taking a road trip for work or pleasure, here are some tips for keeping your body relaxed and avoiding stiff and sore muscles:
– Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need to re-adjust your seat.
– Consider a back support. Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk of low-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
– Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
– To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock, periodically switching to 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock.
– Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
– While always being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focal point while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tension headaches.
– If you are planning a long drive, take rest breaks.
If you are feeling the aches and pains of daily commuting or have been involved in a car crash, we can help. Call our office today at 425-778-9600 for a consultation.
— Dr. Matthew Waldron