HAVING the wrong driving position can lead to back and neck pain affecting up to 5.5 million motorists.
The British Chiropractic Association says that sitting for prolonged periods of time in an uncomfortable position can affect the body in a number of ways causing tension within muscles and in some cases restricting blood flow.
The seat height is particularly important to make sure your body is well supported and comfortable.
The association has teamed up with Citroen - which has just launched its new C4 Cactus with Advanced Comfort seats and a new suspension system designed to make the car one of the most comfortable on the road - to give some tips about correct driving positions.
1. Adjust the driver's seat and mirrors before each journey: the back of the seat should be slightly reclined, so that it feels natural to sit comfortably. The mirrors should also be set up so you can see all the way around the car without needing to move excessively. This will help to avoid neck strain from sudden and repeated head movements.
2. Sit comfortably: the benefits of a well-adjusted seat are outweighed if you don't sit correctly. It is therefore important to sit back in the seat and up against the backrest, so that your spine rests comfortably against the lumbar support and the seat back.
3. Adjust the position of the steering wheel: once seated, your hands should rest naturally on the steering wheel with a slight bend in your arms.
4. Check the seat is in the right position to operate the pedals correctly: the seat position should be set up so that your feet rest naturally on the pedals. Wearing soft-soled shoes is recommended when driving, as high heels or thick soles limit the movement of the legs and feet. Not only can this cause tension in your legs, but it is also unsafe if the driver needs to react quickly.
5. Take regular breaks: the human body isn't designed to sit in one position for very long periods of time, so it is advisable to take regular breaks on longer drives.
Tim Button, BCA chiropractor and ergonomic consultant, said; "Many of my patients have complained of neck or back pain when driving, particularly on long journeys, so it's important that people are aware of the best ways to protect their back health while in their car."
In the BCA study some 79.5 per cent of respondents reported experiencing back or neck pain of which 13 per cent said that driving was a trigger.