Over 30 million Americans experience back pain, in fact it is the most common reason for missing work. Back pain costs the economy $88 billion a year. While some forms of back pain have originated from injury or accident, many are due to bad posture, and repetitive movements that are unnatural for the muscular system and skeleton. When you are driving, there are many steps you can take to prevent getting back pain, making your journey comfortable and pleasant.

Find the optimum seat position

Before you set out on your journey, make sure that your seat has a slight incline backwards of around 100 degrees. If your seat is angled too far backwards, you won’t be able to rest your head on the neck rest comfortably. Many car seats don’t have a natural lumbar support, so it is a good idea to place a rolled up towel behind your lower back, giving you additional support. Make sure that you have nothing in your pocket that protrudes, like your cell phone or wallet, as this can misalign the spine, even slightly, causing aches and pains. You may not notice it at first, but over time, or on a long journey, this can cause issues.

Adjust the cars mirrors and accessories

You should not have to twist or move in order to see clearly when you are driving. You should be able to simply move your eyes, to see everything you need to in order to drive safely. Before you set out, position the side mirrors so that you can see both the road, and the very edge of each side of the car. The rear-view mirror should give you a clear view of the road behind you. Make sure that you are sitting up when you adjust the mirrors, that will help to prevent you from slouching when you are driving, because you will lose vision.

Take regular breaks

Sitting in one position for a long time can cause unnecessary stress on your back. When you are on a long journey, it is particularly important to stop regularly – every hour if possible. This will help to stay calm and prevent tiredness when driving too. When you take a break, do some gentle stretches, and touch your toes, to help keep your body limber.

You should be able to drive without causing back pain. Make sure that your car seat and mirrors are adjusted properly, and that you take regular breaks.

With contribution by freelance writer Jane Baxter.