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Neck pain when driving: Driving Smart to Avoid Neck Pain – Neck Pain Center

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Driving Smart to Avoid Neck Pain – Neck Pain Center

Neck pain is experienced by a significant portion of the population. While it can be caused by trauma or medical conditions, it can also be due to stress and strain on the muscles that support the neck, or to the nerves or bones in the neck. And typical activities that can result in a stiff neck include holding your head in an extended position and using your arms and upper body for long periods of time — that’s a pretty good description of driving a car.

Most of us get to work by driving. Because you probably have enough stress to worry about once you get to your job, here’s how to reduce stress and neck pain from getting there and back.

Neck Pain: Staying Pain-Free on the Road

The stress caused by focusing intensely on driving can contribute to neck pain. You can avoid neck pain by adjusting what you do before you start your drive and changing the way you drive.

  • Start with good driving posture. The best angle for the back of your seat is at 100 degrees, which is just shy of straight. Place your hands in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the steering wheel and elbows comfortably on the armrests.
  • Support your head. Adjust your headrest so that it touches the middle part of the back of your head.
  • Support your lower back. If your car seat offers lumbar support, adjust it to fill the space at your lower back; if not, a small pillow placed against the bottom part of your seat back will maintain the right shape from tailbone to neck. Also, make sure your seat is close enough to the steering wheel so that you don’t have to lean forward.
  • Adjust your mirrors. Give yourself the widest field of vision with all your mirrors so you don’t have to move your head around to see properly.
  • Avoid eyestrain. Driving with poor vision can lead to eyestrain and cause you to crane your neck forward, which puts pressure on your neck muscles. If you’re straining to see while driving, you need to get your vision checked. It sounds obvious, but make sure your windshield is clean to help you see clearly. If you’re driving in bright sunlight, use sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection.
  • Cruise along the highway. If you’re driving on long stretches of road, cruise control allows you to rest your feet on the floor and take some pressure off your back.
  • Take a break. If you start to get a stiff neck, are feeling neck pain, or better yet want to prevent it, pull into the next rest stop. Do some stretching and walk off the kinks.

If you’re like most Americans, you spend a lot of time behind the wheel. You can avoid driving with neck pain by maintaining good posture and making driving adjustments that take the strain off the muscles supporting your neck.

Think about taking frequent breaks to rest and stretch. In most cases it’s better to take a little extra time to arrive at your destination if it means getting there neck-pain free.

Is Your Driving Posture Causing You Pain? – Cleveland Clinic

Driving can be stressful. Traffic, road rage and the car
that just cut you off without a blinker can all contribute to how you feel
behind the wheel. But it’s not just the external elements that can make your
daily commute or road trip less enjoyable – your driving posture and the way
you sit in the car can contribute to neck, back and shoulder pain.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Ugh! As if you needed another reason to be more stressed
while driving. 

“The first thing I tell people when it comes to neck, back pain and shoulder is that everyBODY is different,” says physical therapist, Mary Morrison, PT, DScPT. “What feels comfortable for one person might cause another pain. It’s crucial to find a comfortable and supportive position for you.

Morrison offers these tips and advice about driving posture, so you can stop asking “are we there yet” and start enjoying the ride:

  • Let the seat do the work. Are you sitting too far back and struggling to see clearly? Are you straining forward? Your seated position should be promoting an upright spine. Try adjusting your seat closer or further away from the steering wheel. The least amount of lower back disk pressure occurs when the seat is reclined about 30 degrees. Also check that you aren’t sitting too high or too low compared with the steering wheel. When your seat is adjusted properly, you should be able to sit back and allow the seat to support you in your best alignment.
  • Relax your arms. Your arms should not be reaching out of socket when you drive. They should be relaxed with a gentle bend in the elbow. Or consider using the arm rests on either side of you to help take the load off your shoulders and spine.
  • Head back. For most people, the back of your head should be touching the head rest with your chin level and shoulders back. Think about elongating the spine as you drive.
  • Try a lumbar support pillow. If there’s a gap between the seat and your lower back, you might consider using a lumbar support pillow when you drive. This can help ease lower back pain and support the natural curve of your spine.
  • Utilize cruise control. This can be a good option for long-distance driving and can help keep your feet flat on the floor. But be sure to avoid sitting in bucket-style seats for too long, as having your knees higher than your hips can cause hamstring and glute discomfort.
  • Consider hand position at 4 and 8. This hand position may be more restful for shoulder and neck support rather than the 10 and 2 position you were taught in driving school.
  • Position your mirrors correctly. You shouldn’t be adjusting your mirrors very frequently. If you notice yourself playing with the mirrors on your commutes home, it could be a sign that you’re starting to slump throughout the day.
  • Take breaks during long drives. You should not be driving more than two hours without taking a short break to stretch and get your blood circulating. It’s no secret that sitting for a prolonged amount of time is bad for your health!

It may take some adjustments

Figuring out what positions are causing you issues or where
exactly your discomfort is coming from will likely take a few modifications,
says Morrison. Try to make a few changes
at a time to help pinpoint what is triggering your pain. First try adjusting
your seat for a few days, then try different positions with your arms if that
doesn’t work and so on.

Changing too much too quickly could make your symptoms worse and leave you feeling clueless, so it’s a good idea to proceed with caution. You might not have the strength to sit in a new position for your entire 30 minute commute, so trying a new position for five minutes at a time is a good place to start.

“Set up your car to work for you and practice good driving ergonomics as if you were sitting at your desk at work,” says Morrison. “Driving shouldn’t be more stressful than it already is and it certainly shouldn’t cause pain. If you can’t seem to figure it out with a few adjustments on your own, it’s time to see a physical therapist.”

Tips to Avoid Neck and Shoulder Pain While Driving

Back, neck, and shoulder pain are a common ailment in modern society. Driving is one of those times when pain can flare up. It may seem like we’ve got it made since we’re not walking or riding a horse and buggy anymore, but bad driving posture or seat position while driving can lead to serious lower back pain, a stiff neck, or a stiff shoulder. If you are experiencing neck pain, lower back pain, a sore neck, a headache while driving, driving pain, or driving stress there are some adjustments you can make to improve the problem or even eliminate driving pain.

There are several factors that can contribute to neck, back, and shoulder pain while driving. One of them is the jolting and vibrations caused by the road. Another factor is that some car seats offer no lumbar support. Poor seat positioning can contribute to pain. If your seat is too far from the pedals, your back can be strained to reach them. If your seat is reclined too much, your pelvis may tilt backward, causing you to strain your neck just to look forward. If you drive a manual vehicle, constantly pressing the clutch can put a strain on your lumbar disks.

Adjustments to your seat and the area around your seat can make a big difference in whether or not you are experiencing pain while driving. The following checklist can help you find the right position for optimal comfort while driving.

  1. Make sure your seat is positioned close enough to the steering wheel that your feet can comfortably reach the pedals. All controls on the steering wheel and console should be reachable with no strain.
  2. Your seat should be high enough that your hips rest even to or just below the level of your knees. Some seats don’t allow this kind of adjustment for driving posture. A pillow may be required to lift your seat up.
  3. You should be the appropriate distance from the steering wheel so that your hands can rest and 10 and 2 o’clock position or where your elbows can rest on the armrests.
  4. Your seat back should be positioned so that you can sit upright in a natural way, usually between 95 and 100 degrees. This will allow you to look directly through the windshield without causing a stiff neck or a stiff shoulder.
  5. Adjust your headrest so that it hits you at the level of your eyes. You should be able to rest your head without tilting your neck. Resting your head periodically can help you avoid a sore neck.
  6. 6.Eye strain can cause you to tilt your neck forward as you struggle to see. This can cause a headache and a stiff neck. If you need them, wear your corrective lenses. If conditions are such that you cannot see the roadway clearly take a break for the night or until the back weather clears.
  7. If your car has it, adjust your lumbar support so that it supports the whole curve of your lower spine. Many cars do not offer lumbar support or adjustable lumbar support. If needed adjust the area with a support pillow or a rolled up towel.
  8. Don’t keep things in your back pocket that can take your back out of alignment. Phones and wallets should be stored in the console while you are driving.
  9. If you know that back, shoulder, and neck pain are a problem for you, build in time to take quick breaks on long drives. Stopping every couple of hours for a few minutes at a time can make the difference between a comfortable journey and a painful one. You might want to look into learning some stretches you can do while driving and while taking your breaks that can add to your comfort on long trips.

All these small adjustments can make a big difference for you when you are driving. Even if all these adjustments are made perfectly, you may need to consider getting more help for your pain, especially if driving is part of your occupation. Physiotherapy can help if you have chronic pain, strain, or sprain. Physiotherapy can help 80 percent people with a musculoskeletal disorder overcome their back pain.

Driving can be a necessary part of your life. If it’s causing you pain and the adjustments listed above aren’t solving your problem, it may be time to see a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can help you identify the cause of your pain and give you tips on healing and preventing the pain. They can help you treat your pain with stretching, interferential electro therapy, and therapeutic exercises and many other techniques.

Activation of Neck and Low-Back Muscles Is Reduced with the Use of a Neck Balance System Together with a Lumbar Support in Urban Drivers

PLoS One. 2015; 10(10): e0141031.

,
1
,
1
,
1
,
2
,
1
and
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Federica Menotti

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

Luciana Labanca

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

Luca Laudani

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

Arrigo Giombini

2
Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy,

Fabio Pigozzi

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

Andrea Macaluso

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

François Hug, Editor

1
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro Italico, Rome, Italy,

2
Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy,

Universite de Nantes, FRANCE,

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Conceived and designed the experiments: FM L. Laudani L. Labanca AG FP AM. Performed the experiments: FM L. Labanca. Analyzed the data: FM L. Laudani. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: L. Laudani. Wrote the paper: FM L. Laudani L. Labanca AG FP AM.

Received 2015 Mar 31; Accepted 2015 Oct 2.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract

Driving is associated with high activation of low-back and neck muscles due to the sitting position and perturbations imposed by the vehicle. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a neck balance system together with a lumbar support on the activation of low-back and neck muscles during driving. Twelve healthy male subjects (age 32±6.71 years) were asked to drive in two conditions: 1) with devices; 2) without devices. During vehicle accelerations and decelerations root mean square (RMS) of surface electromyography (sEMG) was recorded from the erector spinae, semispinalis capitis and sternocleidomastoid muscles and expressed as a percentage of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). The pitch of the head was obtained by means of an inertial sensor placed on the subjects’ head. A visual analog scale (VAS) was used to assess the level of perceived comfort. RMS of the low back muscles was lower with than without devices during both acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle (1.40±0.93% vs 29 2.32±1.90% and 1.88±1.45% vs 2.91±2.33%, respectively), while RMS of neck extensor muscles was reduced only during acceleration (5.18±1.96% vs 5.91±2.16%). There were no differences between the two conditions in RMS of neck flexor muscles, the pitch of the head and the VAS score. The use of these two ergonomic devices is therefore effective in reducing the activation of low-back and neck muscles during driving with no changes in the level of perceived comfort, which is likely due to rebalancing weight on the neck and giving a neutral position to lumbar segments.

Introduction

The driving sitting position is featured by non-neutral spinal postures, generally a reduction in natural lumbar lordosis [1] and an increased or decreased neck flexion [2]. As a consequence, a number of adaptations in muscle activation occur [2,3]. Early studies on sitting posture have reported an increase in activation of low back muscles in absence of lumbar support or back rest [3]. Furthermore, the activation of neck muscles is influenced by the position of other spinal segments, for example an increased lumbar flexion is related to a higher neck activation of the extensors muscles [2]. Altered activations of both low-back and neck muscles during driving may be ascribed to two main factors: first, drivers maintain the same sitting position for a long time; second, they need to adequately control posture during the continuous changes in velocity of the vehicle, i.e. accelerations and decelerations [4,5].

There have been a number of studies looking at the effectiveness of ergonomic devices to reduce driving-related back disorders [6,7]. Lumbar support reduces activation of low back muscles [6] and limits low back pain while driving [7]. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there are no studies looking at the effectiveness of ergonomic devices for driving-related neck disorders. However, Pavan et al. [8] and Giombini et al. [9] have recently demonstrated that a cap which includes a padding mass over the occipital region, referred to as neck balance system, was able to improve cervical posture and reduce neck pain during activities of daily living. The assumption was that the mass applied over the occipital region could reduce neck extensor activation without increasing flexor muscles activity by rebalancing head weight distribution on the neck. As an increased lumbar flexion is related to a higher neck activation of the extensors muscles [2], using a lumbar support together with a neck balance system may be effective in reducing the activation of both neck-extensor and low-back muscles during accelerations and decelerations of a vehicle.

The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a neck balance system together with a lumbar support for both cervical and lumbar rebalance on the activation of low-back and neck muscles during driving in an urban contest. The hypothesis is that the devices used together will lower the load on these structures by reducing activation of both the neck-extensor and low-back muscles during the changes in velocity of the vehicle, rebalancing weight on the neck and giving a neutral position to the lumbar spinal segments.

Materials and Methods

Participants

Twelve healthy male subjects (mean age 32 ± 6.71 years, mean body mass 79.9 ± 6.5 kg) participated in the study. Volunteers were recruited according to the following inclusion criteria: 1) age between 25 and 45 years; 2) no symptoms of low back and cervical pain.

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Rome La Sapienza and written informed consent was obtained from all volunteers before the onset of the experimental procedures. The individuals in this manuscript have given written informed consent (as outlined in PLOS consent form) to publish their photographs.

Experimental procedure

Before the driving trials, all subjects were asked to attend the laboratory for the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) recordings: for the MVC of the back extensor muscles participants were instructed to extend the back while lying in a prone position fastened with a belt (, panel A) in order to perform an isometric contraction; similarly, for the MVC of the neck extensor muscles participants were asked to extend the neck against the headrest of a seat. For the MVC of the neck flexor muscles they were asked to flex the neck while the head was stabilized by a belt (, panel B). During each MVC participants were verbally encouraged to achieve a maximum and maintain it for at least 2–3 s before relaxing [10,11]. Three MVC attempts were performed, separated by 5 min.

Experimental position for recording maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of low-back muscles (A) and neck extensor and flexor muscles (B).

Then subjects were asked to take part in two driving trials by using the same utility car (Wolkswagen Fox) along the same urban circuit, thus covering the same driving distance (15 km). All the experimental sessions were carried out during the summer period (from the 30th of July till the 6th of August) in order to avoid traffic congestion. In each experimental session, all subjects were asked to perform two driving trials: once using the ergonomic devices (Lumbar Support and Neck Balance System DM2; Natura Benessere Salute Srl, Varese, Italy) and once without the ergonomic devices in a random order, with a 30-minutes break period between the trials.

The Lumbar Support consists of a polyurethane cushion placed between the vehicle seat and the low back of the subject at L3 level. The positioning of the support was adjusted according to the subjects’ height by regulating two belts, the first fastened to the headrest of the vehicle seat and the second around the back of the seat (, panel A). The Neck Balance System is composed by a baseball type cap which contains two weights (0.2 kg each) applied at the occipital level. These two weights are inserted in two appropriate posterior pockets of the device (, panel B). An example of the subject’s positioning during the driving trials is shown in . Before starting each driving trial, all drivers adjusted their own seats based on personal comfort.

Ergonomic devices: (A) Lumbar Support; (B) Neck Balance System (Natura Benessere Salute Srl, Varese, Italy).

Subject positioning during the driving trials while wearing both ergonomic devices.

Instrumentation

Muscle activation was evaluated using surface electromyography (sEMG). SEMG signals were recorded with a portable system (BTS pocket EMG, Milano, Italy) using pre-gelled adhesive electrodes placed in bipolar mode (with a center to center distance of 2 cm). After light skin abrasion and cleaning with alcohol, electrodes were placed bilaterally on the erector spinae (longissimus) of the low back at T10 level, on the semispinalis capitis at C4 level (midway between the occipital protuberance and the bone protuberance of C7) and on the sternocleidomastoid muscle (midway between the mastoid process and the sternal manubrium) according with the SENIAM guidelines. SEMG signals were recorded during both the MVC and driving trials. The sEMG signal was amplified (x1K), low-pass filtered (0 Hz to 500 Hz), and sampled at 1 kHz and stored on a PC laptop at the end of each experimental session for further analyses [12,13].

Mechanical data from the vehicle and the head of the subjects were recorded during the driving trials using two inertial sensors embedding three-axial accelerometers and gyroscopes (3- Space Sensor Data Logging 2.0, Yei technology, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA). One inertial sensor was placed on the dashboard of the car in a horizontal position with a bi-adhesive tape in order to detect acceleration and deceleration phases of the vehicle. A second inertial sensor was placed on the top of the subject’s head, firmly fixed with a Velcro strap on a cap. Signal from the inertial sensors were sampled at 50 Hz, recorded on a micro-SD and stored on a PC laptop at the end of each experimental session for further analysis.

At the beginning of each driving trial a trigger signal was delivered to the sEMG system and inertial sensors for synchronization.

At the end of each driving trial, level of perceived comfort was assessed using a 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS) [14].

Data analysis

All data from the sEMG system and the inertial sensors of the driving trials were synchronized and analyzed off-line using Spike 2 6.13 Software (Cambridge Electronic Design, UK). Signals from sEMG were band-pass filtered (10–400 Hz) and the root mean square (RMS) was analyzed over epochs of 250 ms. RMS of the MVC was chosen as the mean value of a 1-s window around the RMS peak of the trial with greatest amplitude. Each of the muscles (sternocleidomastoid muscle, semispinalis capitis muscle, erector spinae muscle), was recorded bilaterally and therefore an average was made between right and left RMS of each muscle.

Signals for the inertial sensors were first analyzed with 3-Space-Sensor Suite 2.0 Software (Yei technology, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA). Variable of interest were the raw antero-posterior accelerations of the vehicle and the pitch of the head. Signals were then low-pass filtered (band pass filter 0–10 Hz) and exported over epochs of 250 ms.

RMS of low-back extensor, neck extensor and neck flexor muscles and the pitch of the head were selected based on the acceleration and deceleration phases of the vehicle. Acceleration phases of the vehicle were identified as the epochs in which the raw antero-posterior accelerations of the vehicle were the positive values above 1 mean SD of all driving trials of all subjects. Similarly, deceleration phases of the vehicle were identified as the epochs in which the raw antero-posterior accelerations of the vehicle were the negative values below 1 mean SD of all driving trials of all subjects. RMS of the neck flexor, neck extensor and back extensor were then expressed as a percentage of the MVC RMS. Head pitch was expressed in degrees as the magnitude of the head rotation around its horizontal axis.

Scores about comfort perception during driving were assessed using a ruler by measuring the distance between zero and the point drown by each volunteer on the 10-cm VAS [14].

Statistics

All data were normally distributed in terms of skewness and kurtosis (all values less than |2|). A two way ANOVA for repeated measures was carried out to show whether there were any differences in the acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle between trials (with and without device) or between subjects.

Statistical comparisons of variables of interest (low back RMS, neck extensors RMS, neck flexors RMS, head pitch, VAS score) for both vehicle acceleration and deceleration were carried out by paired Student’s t-test. Statistical significance level was set at P<0.05. Unless otherwise specified, data were presented as mean ± standard deviation.

Results

Acceleration phases of the vehicle, which were identified as the epochs in which the raw antero-posterior accelerations of the vehicle were the positive values above 1 mean SD of all driving trials of all subjects, lasted 167.1 ± 31.5 s with the devices, and 150.2 ± 35.1 s without the devices, with no differences between the two conditions (P>0. 05). Deceleration phases of the vehicle, which were identified as the epochs in which the raw antero-posterior accelerations of the vehicle were the negative values below 1 mean SD of all driving trials of all subjects, were 139.7 ± 23.1 s with the devices and 129.3 ± 51.5 s without the devices, with no differences between the two conditions (P>0.05).

The two-way ANOVA for repeated measurements of the vehicle antero-posterior acceleration did not show any significant difference between the two conditions (with devices, without devices) in any subject (P>0.05). Therefore, the lack of differences in vehicle accelerations enabled us to compare muscle activations between trials.

RMS of the sEMG signal in the low back muscles for both vehicle acceleration and deceleration phases with and without ergonomic devices are shown in . The RMS of the low back muscles was significantly lower when driving with the devices than without in both acceleration phases and deceleration phases of the vehicle (P<0. 05).

RMS of sEMG of low back muscles (mean±SE) expressed as a percentage of MVC during vehicle acceleration (on the left) and vehicle deceleration (on the right) in participants with and without ergonomic devices.

*p <0.05.

RMS of the sEMG signal in the neck extensor muscles for both vehicle acceleration and deceleration phases with and without ergonomic devices is shown in . The RMS of the neck extensor muscles was significantly lower when driving with the devices than without during the acceleration phases of the vehicle (P<0.05), but not during deceleration. In contrast, RMS of the sEMG signal in the neck flexor muscles did not differ between the two conditions (with devices, without devices) neither in acceleration phases (2.44%± 1.08 with; 2.34%±1.20 without) nor in deceleration phases (2.11%± 0.91 with; 2.01%±1.02 without; P>0.05).

RMS of sEMG of neck extensor muscles (mean±SE) expressed as a percentage of MVC during vehicle acceleration (on the left) and vehicle deceleration (on the right) in participants with and without ergonomic devices.

*p <0.05.

The pitch of the head did not differ between the two driving conditions (with and without device) during vehicle acceleration (19±4.18 and 17.19±5.92 degrees, respectively) and deceleration (15.77±3.63 and 14.09±3.94 degrees, respectively).

There were no significant differences in comfort perception between driving with ergonomic devices (score 7.48±1.89) and without ergonomic devices (score 7.68± 1.45; P>0.05).

Raw data are available in the supplementary file (S1 Dataset).

Discussion

The main finding of the present study was that the use of a neck balance system with a lumbar support for both cervical and lumbar rebalance has been shown to reduce activations of both neck extensor and low-back muscles in urban drivers. This could reflect a reduction of the load on cervical and lumbar segments that are caused by the sitting position and the perturbations imposed by the vehicle accelerations and decelerations.

RMS of sEMG signal in the low back muscles was reduced with the use of the two ergonomic devices during driving. This result is in contrast with the findings of Leinonen et al. [7], who did not find any differences in sEMG amplitude of the paraspinal muscles with the use of a low back support during driving. However, the effectiveness of a lumbar support is suggested by the findings of Chen et al. [15], who reported a lower prevalence of low back pain in regularly lumbar support users versus non-users. From early studies on the sitting posture, it is known that using a support at lumbar level leads to a reduction in EMG activity [4]. This observation could be ascribed to a change in lumbo-pelvic angle, as using a lumbar support rotates the pelvis forward and increases the lumbar lordosis [1] towards the normal lumbar curve [16], which is referred to as physiological lumbar curve [17]. Reasonably, when this position is held, the loading on spinal structures is reduced and so postural muscle activations are reduced [4,18].

RMS of sEMG signal in the neck extensor muscles was lower during driving with the two ergonomic devices with respect to driving without the devices, while RMS of the neck flexor muscles did not differ between the two conditions. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no studies have looked at the acute effect of ergonomic devices for head stabilization on muscular activation during driving. However, our findings complement the results of recent studies on the short- and long-term effects of the neck balance system on neck-head posture and related musculo-skeletal disorders [8,9]. In particular, Pavan et al. [8] reported that, following 15 minutes of cap wearing, the head was retracted, as measured by means of motion analysis. Furthermore, Giombini et al. [9] demonstrated that, after 8 weeks of treatment with Neck Balance System, there was a reduction of neck pain quantified by means of clinical scales. The authors then speculated that the load imposed by the cap could influence postural mechanisms by reducing activation of the extensor muscles which, in turn, would lead to a neck-head posture associated with reduced pain [9]. In addition to the lower activity of the neck extensor muscles, the lack of differences in activity of the neck flexor muscles when driving with ergonomic devices demonstrated that applying a load above the occipital zone, as wearing the cap, did not lead to an extra effort for the neck flexor muscles as a compensatory mechanism. Moreover, evidence of an unchanged neck-head balance comes from the unaltered pitch of the head, which revealed that using or not using the ergonomic devices, did not increase or decrease the oscillation of the head in the sagittal plane following vehicle perturbations (accelerations and decelerations).

There were no differences in the level of perceived comfort assessed by the VAS scale between driving with the two ergonomic devices and driving without the devices. Since there are no studies in the literature reporting the combined effect of two ergonomic devices for cervical and lumbar rebalance, it is not possible to compare our results with observations of others. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the use of the ergonomic devices did not alter the level of comfort perceived by the volunteers while driving, which was overall high in both conditions, thus making the use of the device acceptable.

Some limitations need to be addressed. First of all, the experimental design of this study did not allow showing whether or not the combined use of the two devices was superior to using the two devices isolated from each other. Further investigations are needed to explore this issue. A further limitation of the study is that the head pitch was computed by means of YEI Technology proprietary algorithms, which are unknown to the investigators.

In conclusion, the use of a neck balance system together with a lumbar support for both cervical and lumbar rebalance has been demonstrated to reduce the activation of both low-back and neck muscles during driving, which likely reflects a rebalancing of weight on the neck and a neutral position of the lumbar spinal segments, without affecting the level of perceived comfort. A follow-up study will be useful to determine the long-term effectiveness in reducing low-back and neck pain in urban drivers.

Supporting Information

S1 Dataset

Raw data of the experimental study.

(XLS)

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Amy Maslivec for reviewing the paper.

Funding Statement

The authors have no support or funding to report.

Data Availability

All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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Avoid back and neck pain while driving

Spinal Advice: Top tips for getting your car seat right
Many patients that come to the clinic with lower back or neck pain often report symptoms while driving. More often than not the position of their seat is at fault and some small adjustments can make a huge difference. When sitting in the car aim to align your spine in a position as close to neutral as possible (if you have seen us for spinal pain you will know what I mean by the term “neutral”). Your back should not slump into a flexed position and you head should be positioned above you neck and shoulders and not ‘stuck out’ in front of you! Here are a few tips to get your seat right.

1. Raise the seat base as high as you can (avoid obscuring your view though!) – Aim to have your thighs as close to horizontal as possible so that your hips are not too flexed.
2. Adjust your seat positioning so you are not stretching to reach the pedals while at the same time your knees and hips are not overly flexed. This will to some extent be determined by the length of your arms!
3. Adjust the angle of the seat back so that it is just off vertical – it should not be excessively reclined as this will lead to a forward posture.
4. Your head should lightly touch the head rest in this position. If your head is positioned away from the head rest because of an over reclined seat you are more likely to experience neck pain.
5. With your hands on the wheel your elbows should be flexed no more than 20-30 degrees.
6. Adjust the lumbar support to fill the small hollow in your lower back. Do not over adjust as this will push you in to too much extension. You are aiming for maintenance of a “neutral” position.
7. With your left hand resting on the gear stick your elbow should be slightly bent – do not stretch to reach the gear stick.

For more info on back and neck conditions go to our conditions page

3 Costly Mistakes You’re Making Causing Nagging Neck Pain With Driving

Do you drop off the kids or drive with neck pain or nagging shoulder aches to work each morning?
Do you usually bring a bag, purse or carry-on item while you drive?
Do you spend at least 20-30 minutes on average driving?
Does your pain prevent you from reaching overhead, turning your neck all the way, reaching or behind your back?
If so, this might be the most important thing you read this year! And here’s why:

If you are like most Americans, you spend an average 17,600 minutes in a car each year! That’s over 290 hours a year you spend with that nagging little reminder in your neck that something isn’t quite right. The good news is that January & February are actually the months with the least time spent driving! That means now is the time to correct behaviors, postures and fix the root problem before ‘driving season’ picks up again as we head towards spring. Driving with neck pain must be corrected with changes in behavior and corrected posture.

My name is Dr. Alexander Borja, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Health Fitness Specialist and advocate of natural healing & health. As a physical therapist myself, I educate the local community on how to modify behaviors and, essentially, your entire lifestyle to reduce risk to your current or past musculoskeletal injuries. Over the years I have compiled several questions and concerns from clients suffering with neck or shoulder pain. Many of these concerns come from driving.

I will now go over the top 3 mistakes that people make while driving that are causing their neck and shoulder problem to not only stagnate, but actually get worse.

The first mistake is for those who routinely reach into the passenger or back seat of thier car. One of the most risky positions for the shoulder and neck is that momement when you reach back into the back seat to grab something, lift and pull the object towards you. If you have items you carry in either the passenger or the back seat, at some point you will need to reach for them. It’s totally risky and where I see a lot of injuries happen.
have severe shoulder pain, I would avoid it alltogether. I would also recommend never reaching into the back seat from the drivers seat for any reason.

The fix: For smaller items under 5lbs, keep them in the passenger side and once you reach your destination, it should be safe to reach for the object. For items over 5lbs, they are ok in the passengers side but you should load and unload them from the passengers side door, avoiding reaching over in the car to grab them. Always avoid reaching into the back seat for any reason. Back seat items should be loaded and unloaded from the rear doors only.

The second mistake most people make is posture control & not utilizing thier car’s features to the fullest! If you drive a modern car, you likely have heated seats. Use this to your advantage! Heated seats will help with your neck, shoulder and lower back pain by relaxing tight muscles. Besides that point, it also feels great!

The other feature many cars have is lumbar support. This is important and will actually help with your neck and shoulder pain significantly. You’ll want to set the lumbar support in such a way as to create a signficant arch in your lower back. You should feel well supported and because your back is arched more than you’re used to, you will feel as though your stomach is pushed forward excessively. It might even get uncomfortable, perhaps in your low to mid back, and beginners should set this strict posture for only 30-45 minutes at a time per day until they get used to it. This is normal and is setting your neck, shoulders and lower back into proper alignment.

What if you don’t have these features in your car? You can turn a cold seat into a hot seat by purchasing a heating pad for your car. They even make pads specifically for car seats now that will fit your seat nicely! For the lumbar support, I recommend using a rolled up towel that is duck tapped and tightly rolled or if you want something more permanent, specialized lumbar rolls I use with my clients can be found on my website at borjapt.com for a discount.

The third mistake is how you use your seat belt. Reaching for the seat belt can be performed with either hand and the majority of us simply reach back with our left hand. While this may work for most, it can cause a ton of pain in those with rotator cuff problems. Instead reach with the right arm with a slight rotation in the body towards the left to help it along. I have found that most of my clients will get shoulder or chest cramps when they reach across their body with the right arm towards the seat belt. To reduce the chance of this happening, turn your body towards the left (towards the seat belt) as you reach with your right arm. Got right shoulder pain? It’s just the opposite for you. You’ll want to reach back using your left arm instead. Can’t do that either? No worries, when entering your car, simply sit back into it like a chair while using the door or handle inside the door frame for support. Once seated, grab onto the seat belt with either hand and take the seat belt with you as you turn your body to face forwards towards the dashboard.

So those are the top 3 mistakes people make while driving that are causing more neck and shoulder pain. Following the advice in this article will help with reducing dependency on pain pills, injections or enduring a risky surgery! The outlined mistakes here, however, are just the beginning. There are far more details and modifications you can make in your daily lifestyle to prevent further neck and shoulder pain.

The next step is learning how to modify the rest of your lifestyle to prevent further injury. You can get this in one comprehensive and complimentary guide, “7 Easy Things You Can Do To Ease Chronic, Stiff & Nagging Neck & Shoulder Pain…Without Medications, Injections or Risky Surgery”. In this guide, I will go over how to solve your pain and methods to begin the healing process without risk for re-injury. Just visit www.borjapt.com/resources to get it free.

If getting back to a pain free lifestyle so you can return to exercise, driving, yardwork, house keeping activity and spending quality time with friends and family, is important to you then this free guide is for you. You can get it instantly by visiting www.borjapt.com/resources.

I hope that guide will allow you to reduce pain and enjoy life as it has many others.

To your health,
Dr. Alexander Borja, Pain & Movement Expert

P.S. If you have neck or shoulder pain and want help to immediately alleviate your pain and restore function, I would be willing to take a look at your shoulder or neck free of charge. Just call 586-884-4565 and ask for Deanna. Tell her, “I would like to take Dr. Borja’s Fast Pain Relief Discovery Session”, and she will get you all set up. You can alternatively, click the giant button below.

Yes, I Want This Limited Time Fast Pain Relief Discovery Session & Customized Plan – $175 Value…FREE!”

Learn About This Author
Alex Borja

Hello, I founded www.borjapt.com and my clinic, “Borja Physical Therapy And Weight Loss Clinic” located in Sterling Heights, MI. I help people get out of pain, back to activities they love and promote long-term health!
I envision a world in which we are all free to take an active role in our healthcare, not restricted by 3rd party institutions which unfortunately makes up our current health care system. I believe that health providers that deliver the best service and value to it’s clients, should be accessible to anyone who wants to be seen – regardless of health insurance card in their wallet or referral source.
I hope this site helps you learn more about how you can learn to manage, eliminate and lead a happy, healthy life!

Driving a pain in the neck (and back)

We’re in the midst of a sitting epidemic and new research finds that driving is the most common form of transport to and from work – with 47% of people having a sedentary commute by driving every day.

Spinal care experts from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) are encouraging drivers to think about their backs when behind the wheel – warning that sitting in the same position for long periods of time is a leading cause of neck and back pain.

New research reveals that commuting/ travelling triggers neck or back pain for 14%.

The findings, released from the BCA, show that more than one in 10 (14%) spend between 30 minutes and one hour a day commuting by car. Of those who said they mainly drive to work, 44% then also spend most of their working day sitting.

BCA Chiropractor, Rishi Loatey is advising drivers and commuters alike to make small adjustments to their journeys; “With the number of people suffering with neck and back pain rising by almost 10% in the last year* it’s really important that we think about what we’re doing every day that could be causing unnecessary strain.
“Drivers may not realise that some simple adjustments to their car journey could make a big difference. If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in the shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close to the driver, the wheel may be touching the legs, which will reduce free movement, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.”

For those looking to build more movement into their working day, inspiration may be found in the active 18% of people who spend the main part of their commute walking, with some choosing to run in.

If you have no choice but to be stuck behind the wheel, the BCA offers the following top tips to ease the strain of driving:

Sit correctly in your seat. Make sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. The seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.

Feet should fall naturally onto the pedals. You should be able to press the pedals to the floor by mainly moving your ankle and only using your leg a little. Avoid wearing wear high heels, or very thick-soled shoes, as you will have to overextend the ankle in order to put pressure on the pedals.

Exercise while stuck in traffic. Try buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat – tensing and relaxing) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles.

Mirrors. Set your mirror positions to suit you before you drive off. The mirror positions should allow you to see all around the car with the movement of your
eyes with minimal head movement.

Relax. A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.

Ditch the car. Muscles and joints are designed for movement so, where possible, walk or cycle as it will help improve muscle tone, circulation and posture – helping to ensure a pain free commute.

See more advice here

90,000 this is how we harm our own health – magazine Driving

Are you bored in traffic, leaning your elbows on the glove compartment? Do you support your chin with your hand while driving, or do you constantly stretch your neck to “see better”? These are all signs of improper fit. And all these seemingly imperceptible actions have very tangible consequences.

1. Cervical osteochondrosis

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Signs: headaches, pain in the neck, fatigue, dizziness, numbness of the extremities.

Not so long ago it was believed that osteochondrosis – a disease in which there is a gradual destruction of the spine – mainly affects the elderly. However, today the disease is noticeably younger. The causes of osteochondrosis can be many (including a genetic predisposition), but one of the main provoking factors is just the wrong landing while driving. This is especially true for those who are used to sitting in the car as if “hanging” over the steering wheel.While driving, the car vibrates, which increases the load on the spine at times. But the cervical vertebrae are very mobile, and even a slight shake can cause their displacement.

2. Curvature of the spine

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Signs: poor posture, back pain, headaches, shoulder asymmetry, increased fatigue.

In adulthood, we often do not attach importance to scoliosis. Just think, crooked posture – who in our time can boast of a military bearing? Meanwhile, a curved spine affects the work of the whole organism.For example, patients with scoliosis develop osteochondrosis more often and earlier. In addition, the curvature is dangerous for the internal organs and can lead to their displacement, as well as pinching of the nerves (which, again, is fraught with severe pain). Incorrect redistribution of the load on the spine also often leads to the development of diseases of the lower extremities – arthritis, arthrosis, flat feet.

Many doctors agree that after 30 years it is almost impossible to recover from scoliosis. Allegedly, the body has adapted to the disease and it is impossible to correct the curvature of the vertebrae – only to correct it in order to relieve pain.But this is not a reason to let the disease take its course. Better yet, monitor your posture, lead an active lifestyle and drive properly.

3. Headache

Signs: a feeling of “compression” in the head, a feeling of pressure in the eyes, difficulty breathing, aggravated by movement, coughing or laughing.

Sitting in a car, as a rule, we are in one position for a long time. Our shoulders, neck and back are tense, blood circulation is disrupted, and, as a result, our head starts to hurt (although in fact it is the muscles that hurt).This malaise even bears the appropriate name – “tension headache.”

4. Prostatitis

Signs: weakness, fatigue, pain during urination, various sexual dysfunctions.

Diseases of professional drivers are not alien to the inhabitants of megalopolises who spend a lot of time in traffic jams. Prolonged sitting leads to blood stasis. Due to the fact that oxygen begins to poorly flow to the pelvic organs, there is a risk of developing an inflammatory process.If at the same time the motorist also smokes, is not a fool to drink and often eats spicy food, then earning prostatitis is easy for him.

5. Varicose veins

Signs: throbbing pain in the legs, swelling, cramps and itching in the muscles at night, spider veins, protruding veins on the legs and feet.

The same static driving position and, as a result, blood stagnation – but in the legs can provoke the development of varicose veins in drivers. The pressure on the walls of the vessels increases, and the veins begin to gradually deform.If in the previous case we talked about an exclusively male disease, then varicose veins are more likely a female disease. At least that’s what is commonly believed. At the same time, men tolerate varicose veins much harder. And all because such a cosmetic defect as spider veins on the legs (faithful companions of varicose veins) are of little interest to them. They ignore the symptoms of the disease to the last and go to the doctor even when it is in an advanced stage.

5 recommendations

As you know, any disease is easier to prevent than to cure.Here are some simple guidelines to help you reduce your risks:

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  • Don’t slouch. The most dangerous while driving is the so-called “banana pose”, when the pelvis slides down, the shoulders stretch forward and up, the driver’s body is tilted towards the steering wheel. In this position, the spine has no support, which means that the load on it increases significantly.
  • Adjust the seat so that your back is as comfortable as possible while maintaining the physiological curves of the spine.It will not be superfluous to purchase a special pillow for the lower back. Auto shops sell options for every taste and wallet today.
  • It is also important to pay attention to how you hold the steering wheel. The hands should be just above the level of the elbows so as not to disrupt circulation.
  • When buying a car, pay attention to what your new driver’s seat will be like. It should be, first of all, hard – at least semi-hard, but not soft at all. It is even better if the chair has great possibilities for adjustment – so it will be easier to adjust it as much as possible to your anatomical features.
  • But no matter how comfortable the seat is, on any trip drivers are advised to make small “excursions” from the car every two hours. Spend 15 minutes doing a little warm-up or at least walking.

Photo: depositphotos.com

Back and neck pain in the driver: causes and solutions

22 March 2019 12:30
Yulia Solomashenko

Many drivers who drive for a long time complain of back and neck pain.Why are motorists concerned about these symptoms? Let’s get acquainted with the reason, and find out how to properly drive.

Read alsoPros of a panoramic roof in the car

Where does the pain come from

If you drive a lot and sit wrongly behind the wheel of a car, then pain in the back and cervical region is inevitable. This is due to the fact that the spine is and the muscles are constantly in tension. To prevent this condition, you need to properly sit in the car and do simple charging.If you neglect the exercises, then the pain will become chronic, and degenerative changes will begin in the tissues of the spine, which will lead to serious disorders.

How to properly drive

Correct posture will help prevent neck and lower back pain. The optimal fit is when the back is located almost perpendicular to the bottom of the car, the arms at the elbows are slightly bent, and the pelvis is in the middle of the seat. If your hands do not reach the steering wheel, and your feet do not reach the pedals, then you need to move the chair to a comfortable distance without changing your body position.

How to prevent pain

During long trips, it is imperative to take breaks, get out of the car and do an elementary workout of the neck, arms, legs and back. If the driver drives short distances, but often, then it is worth knowing the exercises that can be done at home.

Read alsoIn Ukraine, a new bill on the issuance of driver’s licenses has appeared

1. To maintain the muscle corset, you need to do abdominal exercises.For example, periodically strain it, or just suck in your stomach for a few seconds.

2. It is imperative to do relaxing neck exercises.

3. To warm up the lumbosacral spine, lunges must be performed.

4. Turning the torso will help the lumbar spine to relax a little.

Earlier we wrote about buying a used car and fake documents: how to check information about a car

How to properly drive so that your back does not hurt – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Forwarding drivers, as well as taxi drivers and everyone motorists who spend a lot of time on long journeys by car know that driving for many hours sometimes causes severe discomfort in the body.But it can be avoided or minimized if you do not forget about some simple tips. Such recommendations will help all motorists cope with the consequences of long sitting in the driver’s seat.

To keep your back and neck from getting tired, you need to master the correct driving position. For health, the best position is when the back and neck are straight and at a 90-degree angle to the seat. This pose is similar to the one taught in elementary school to students.

It is important to follow the direction of the gaze: keep your head straight and look straight ahead.Leaning forward on the steering wheel, stooping and hunching is not necessary, in this position the back will quickly get tired.

The comfort and convenience of the driver behind the wheel is largely due to the seat itself. The motorist should test the driver’s seat well and take this factor into account when choosing a new car. An intelligently adjustable seat with lateral and lumbar support will be the best choice for most drivers.

If it is not possible to choose an anatomical seat, you can use available tools, for example, a regular roller.It can be used to make lumbar support, and in this case it will be possible to remove some of the load from the back. You can also use hard, massage seat covers. However, do not forget that they are not suitable for everyone: before using such capes, you need to carefully read the instructions, where the list of contraindications is indicated. Better yet, consult a doctor first and make sure that such a cape will not harm you.

To avoid discomfort in your legs – and you can feel numb from a long trip – it is better to drive in comfortable shoes and wear comfortable clothes.

On long-distance travel, do not neglect the opportunity to stop the car for at least a few minutes, get off the wheel and do a little warm-up. And if this is not possible, then you can use, for example, a pause at a traffic light to stretch your neck, move your shoulders, that is, do elementary exercises.

Occupational diseases often occur in people whose work is connected with road crossings. However, prevention of such diseases should be carried out not only by “steering workers”, but also by all motorists.After all, the modern rhythm of life forces us to spend many hours behind the wheel of a car. Doctors say that physical inactivity is the cause of many diseases of a modern person. And therefore, it is recommended to regularly engage in physical activity and use a complex of physiotherapy exercises as prescribed by a doctor.

It is important to remember that persistent discomfort in the back, neck and legs that occurs when you are in the driver’s seat for a long time can be a symptom of some serious medical conditions. In this case, you should not self-medicate, but it is better to consult a doctor and undergo an examination.

Cervicalgia (neck pain) – treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnosis

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  • Neck pain (Cervicalgia)

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Neck pain ( cervicalgia ) is a common pain syndrome. About 10 percent of adults have experienced neck pain at least once in their lives. Cervicalgia (neck pain) can be caused by a number of factors, including muscle strains, ligaments, arthritis, or root compression. Neck pain can arise from a number of diseases of the spine and diseases of any tissue in the neck. In addition, neck pain can be associated with infections, such as viral throat infections leading to swollen lymph nodes and neck pain. Neck pain can also be associated with rare infections such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, septic discitis, or meningitis (often accompanied by a stiff neck).Neck pain can be caused by diseases that affect the muscle structures of the neck (fibromyalgia or polymyalgia rheumatica). The provoking factors of neck pain are contact sports, injuries such as traffic accidents, excessive physical exertion.

Reasons

There are many reasons for the appearance of pain in the neck and it is far from always possible to immediately determine the source of the pain, and sometimes even with the help of instrumental research methods it is difficult to determine the true cause of the pain.The main conditions causing neck pain are as follows:

Neck sprain . A sprain in the neck muscles can be caused by injury, which can spasm the muscles in the neck and the muscles in the upper back. Neck sprains can be the result of systematic static stress associated with poor posture, psychological stress, or lack of sleep. Typically, symptoms of a neck strain include pain, stiffness, and discomfort in the upper back or shoulder, and symptoms can last for up to six weeks.

Cervical spondylosis is degenerative changes in the vertebrae in the cervical spine, in which there is a change in the shape of the vertebrae and bone growths along the edges of the vertebrae (osteophytes). Osteophytes can compress surrounding tissues (including nerve structures). Studies show that osteophytes are the cause in almost 90% of nerve compression. Moderate manifestations of spondylosis are a common involutionary process associated with aging of the body, while significant manifestations of spondylosis are a pathological degenerative process.Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may include neck pain or weakness, numbness or discomfort in the arms or shoulders, headaches, or limited neck mobility.

Discogenic neck pain . Discogenic neck pain is considered to be the most frequent in the pattern of neck pain. The cause of discogenic pain is morphological changes in the structure of one or more intervertebral discs. The characteristic symptoms of discogenic neck pain are neck pain when turning or tilting the head.Pain can worsen when the neck is subjected to prolonged static stress, when the neck is held in one position for a long time (for example, when driving a car, while working at a computer). The pain can be accompanied by muscle stiffness and muscle spasms. Discogenic pain can also radiate to the arm and shoulder.

Facet joint syndrome – The facet joints are located at the edges of the vertebrae and are most often damaged by whiplash injuries and are often the source of headaches.Another potential cause of damage to the facet joints may be the nature of the work associated with the need to frequently extend the neck. Symptoms of facet joint syndrome in the cervical spine include pain in the middle or lateral surface of the neck, some patients may have shoulder pain in the scapula, in the base of the skull, in one arm.

Whiplash – Whiplash syndrome is caused by a traumatic incident of a sharp overextension of the neck (forward – backward).The most common cause of this injury is a road traffic accident. Symptoms of a whiplash injury include severe pain, muscle spasm, and decreased range of motion in the neck.

Cervical myofascial pain – myofascial pain is characterized by the presence of compacted and painful points in the neck. Myofascial neck pain can develop after an injury or be caused by conditions such as psychological stress, depression, or insomnia.

Diffuse Skeletal Hyperostosis – Diffuse Skeletal Hyperostosis is a syndrome in which abnormal calcification occurs in the ligaments and tendons in the cervical spine, resulting in tissue hardening.Many patients are asymptomatic, but some may have stiffness, pain, and decreased mobility. Diffuse skeletal hyperostosis can occur not only in the cervical spine, but also in the thoracic and lumbar regions.

Cervical spondylogenic myelopathy – occurs when there are degenerative changes that lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis can damage (compress) the spinal cord and cause neurological damage.Therefore, in addition to painful manifestations, patients may have weakness in the limbs, impaired coordination of movements, as well as dysfunction of the pelvic organs (intestines, bladder, erectile dysfunction).

Cervical radiculopathy – Cervical radiculopathy occurs when the nerve roots are irritated by a herniated (protruding) disc or other formations, such as a synovial cyst. Signs of radiculopathy may include pain, weakness, or sensory disturbances (eg, numbness, tingling) in the hands.The most common causes of cervical radiculopathy are degenerative changes in the cervical spine (osteochondrosis).

Symptoms

As a rule, the pain in the neck is dull. Sometimes the pain increases with neck movement. Neck pain can be accompanied by numbness, tingling, sometimes the pain can be acute, there can be a violation of swallowing, swollen lymph nodes, dizziness.

Cervicalgia can be associated with headache in the face, pain in the shoulder, numbness or tingling sensation in the shoulder (paresthesia of the upper limb).These associated symptoms often result from root compression. For example, compression of a nerve root with sensory fibers that provide innervation to the occipital region can lead to neck pain radiating to the back of the head. Depending on the disease, in some cases, neck pain may be accompanied by pain in the upper back or in the lower back, for example, with ankylosing spondylitis, when the inflammatory process covers the entire spine.

Diagnostics

Cervicalgia requires a clear definition of the cause of the pain.A full-fledged examination is especially necessary when neck pain is accompanied by neurological symptoms (dysfunction of the pelvic organs) or the pain is intense, there are sensitivity disorders (numbness, tingling), or the pain syndrome lasts more than a week of treatment at home.

During the examination, the doctor should assess the presence of painful points in the neck, range of motion in the neck, the presence of muscle spasm, the condition of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, the presence of muscle weakness, tension of muscle groups in the upper body.

In some cases, instrumental studies are necessary, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ENMG (diagnosis of conduction along nerve fibers). These research methods help to verify the diagnosis.

Treatment

In most cases, neck pain is treated conservatively.

Drug treatment . NSAIDs (voltaren, ibuprofen, naproxen) can relieve mild to moderate neck pain quite effectively.If muscle spasm is present, muscle relaxants and sometimes even antidepressants may be recommended. However, drowsiness can occur when taking these drugs.

The use of cold in the form of compresses can reduce pain and relieve muscle spasm.

Massage – Massage can be helpful in relieving muscle spasm and improving blood flow to the muscles.

Manual therapy allows you to remove muscle blocks and mobilize motor segments and eliminate subluxation of the facet joints.Traction therapy is also used to decompress the nerve roots.

Orthopedic products (cervical collar) are useful when there is severe pain syndrome (for example, with whiplash or radiculopathy). Regular wearing of a neck collar is not recommended as it can weaken the neck muscles. In addition, in case of neck pain, the use of orthopedic pillows gives a good effect, which provide the neck with a physiological position during sleep.

Acupuncture .The impact on biologically active points allows you to restore normal conduction along the nerve fibers and reduce pain.

Trigger point injections of local anesthetics can be quite effective, especially when myofascial pain is present.

Physiotherapy. Modern physiotherapy techniques such as shock wave therapy, cryotherapy or laser therapy are quite effective in treating neck pain.

exercise therapy. The exercise program helps to restore the normal muscular system and the functionality of the cervical spine.

Surgical methods are necessary in cases where there are severe neurological symptoms or conservative treatment has not been effective (for example, with disc herniation and spondylogenic myelopathy).

90,000 5 rules of healthy driving: prevention of neck and back pain while driving

It is not uncommon for vehicle drivers to develop neck and back pain.This is due to improper fit and prolonged driving. In order to avoid such problems, it is necessary to carry out preventive procedures that will help the driver feel much better.

In addition, pain during movement prevents a person from fully concentrating. This reduces the level of security. The risk group includes people whose profession is associated with long-distance or long trips. For example, truckers, taxi drivers or bus drivers.

5 rules of “healthy” driving

Correct fit

Correct fit will prevent back and neck pain. The body position should be perpendicular to the seat. The loin is slightly arched forward. Keep your arms straight at all times. It is not recommended to lean forward strongly, or lean back. If you do this, the view will be significantly reduced, and it is more difficult to react from this position, because the body is either compressed or too stretched.

IMPORTANT. The driver should look straight ahead, lightly touching the headrest.

Travel mode

When traveling for a long time in a car, the body is in one position, respectively, the muscles become numb. Therefore, you should make stops every 2-3 hours in order to warm up. It is not recommended to make sudden movements, because the ligaments can be damaged. Stops should be made for at least 10 minutes.

IMPORTANT. Fresh air helps you concentrate and be more alert while driving.

Exercise

It is very important for drivers to have stretching and hardy muscles in the back, neck and arms. Since the body is in a sitting position almost all the time, you need to try to walk more (do not use the elevator). Exercise is best done in the morning.

Clothes and footwear

Since drivers spend most of their time sitting, they are not advised to wear tight-fitting clothing, as it hinders movement.The driver should be comfortable.

IMPORTANT. There should be no tight belts and foreign objects in the pockets. They put additional stress on the spine or even ruin the posture.

Seat

Ideally, the seat should be orthopedic. Then less harm is done to human health. Because it is made in such a way that it takes some of the load from the spine and neck.

Only standard seats are used in budget vehicles.In this case, you need to purchase a special form, which is sold in a specialized store. Before buying, you need to consult with specialists.

Conclusion

The most important thing a person has is health. Therefore, it is necessary to treat him with reverence. Observe all recommendations given by doctors. Prevention and timely seeking help will help prevent pathologies associated with posture.

90,000 Treatment of neck and head pain – Severe neck pain when turning the head

Pain in the neck is a very common ailment, from which, probably, everyone has had to suffer at least once.In order to experience these far from the most pleasant sensations, it is absolutely not necessary to get into an accident or have anomalies in the structure of the cervical vertebrae. Often from severe pain in the neck, which “give” to the shoulders and back of the head, people employed in “sedentary” work suffer. These are primarily representatives of the “office” professions – economists, engineers, accountants, etc. In addition, this attack can manifest itself as a result of strong physical exertion.

Sudden and very severe pain when turning the neck can be one of the signs of osteochondrosis.Depending on which part of the spine is affected by this disease, it can also manifest itself with more or less severe back pain. Sometimes neck pain radiates to the back of the head or shoulders, arms or chest – the cause of this may be muscle hypertonicity, which leads to muscle spasm. Other common factors that trigger pain and loss of mobility are exposure to a draft, excessive exercise, etc. In this case, painful sensations usually go away on their own within a week and a half.If this does not happen, it is necessary to consult a specialist neurologist.

Causes of neck pain

The most common causes of neck, head and shoulder pain include:

  • Excessive muscle tension or stretching. This can be the result of prolonged stay in one position – for example, when working at a computer or driving a car. In addition, cramping and stretching occurs due to excessive exertion – for example, lifting weights or playing sports;
  • various diseases of the corresponding muscle groups, as well as tendons and joints.This can be fibromyalgia, as well as myofascial syndrome, etc.;
  • diseases of the spine – first of all, these are the notorious osteochondrosis and osteoarthritis, in which premature wear of the articular cartilage and the joints themselves occurs. If you have a headache with pain in the neck, then you should suspect that you have this disease;
  • In addition, some immune disorders can also be the cause of painful sensations – for example, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.;
  • Injuries to the spine due to trauma can quite naturally be accompanied by pain, as well as the recovery period after spinal surgery;
  • neoplasms in the neck – benign and malignant tumors – can manifest in this way;
  • The so-called “reflected” pain in the neck – when it is turned or even in a stationary state – can be the result of various diseases of the internal organs and various body systems.In this case, the real cause of neck pain can be the brain or spinal cord, heart, stomach, circulatory and respiratory systems, thyroid gland, as well as areas affected by purulent inflammation.

Treatment of neck pain

At our medical center, the emphasis is on non-surgical treatment for neck pain. This can be physiotherapy, acupuncture, medical massage, exercise therapy and some other methods. Let’s talk about non-surgical methods of treating neck pain in modern medicine in a little more detail:

  • A drug treatment is often used to relieve pain.It may include taking painkillers, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants, hormone-containing and anticonvulsants as prescribed by your doctor. They can enter the body not only orally, but also through injections, as well as through the skin using ointments, patches, etc.;
  • Orthopedic treatment of neck pain involves, first of all, wearing the so-called Chance collar for some time. It is commonly used to accelerate recovery from neck injuries and neck surgeries;
  • reflexology – acupuncture effect on certain points on the body – helps relieve spasm and gently “start” the processes of self-recovery of the body;
  • medical massage and osteopathy – these and other techniques included in manual therapy help to get rid of muscle hypertonicity and make the neck more flexible, relieving pain and spasm;
  • Exercise therapy – first of all, these are exercises for opening the chest.It is quite problematic to train the muscular corset of the neck separately from other muscle groups, therefore the main emphasis in the exercise complexes is to remove stiffness from the thoracic spine, thereby making it more mobile and adjusting the distribution of the load on it. With regular exercise, you can forever say goodbye to pain in the neck and head!

Correct driving position | What should be the posture while driving a car?

Drivers interested in a correct driving position should consider the following:

  1. Correct seating in an automatic vehicle requires the seat to be positioned as far back as possible to provide more space when entering the vehicle.
  2. Adjust the seat height correctly to see the road comfortably. Do not place the seat in such a high position; this can lead to more impact of the skull in the event of a collision.
  3. Position the headrest so that the top is at the same level as the top of your ears. This is especially important to prevent whiplash injuries in the event of a range collision, the most common type of collision.
  4. Ensure that your feet can comfortably apply the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals without getting off the back of the seat.
  5. Fold back the seat back slightly at an angle of approx. 100 degrees.
  6. Adjust the steering wheel to avoid excessive range (the distance must be at least 25 centimeters from the driver), place your hands on the steering wheel at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions to reduce the risk of injury if the airbag is deployed in an accident.
  7. Stopping and getting out of the car regularly to stretch your legs.
  8. Keep windows clean to avoid blind spots.
  9. If your car model has this option, the lumbar support must be adjusted every two hours.
  10. Think about your posture while driving. Relax your muscles and keep your head straight. Driving posture is very important.
  11. Any position can be uncomfortable after a long period, so you should try to slightly change your position during the trip and not keep the muscles fixed for a long time.
  12. The position of the arms directly affects the shoulders.If they are under too much tension, pain in the upper back muscles may be noticed. In almost all cars, the steering wheel can be adjusted in height and depth. It is recommended to keep your elbows bent about 90 degrees. Even if the vehicle has armrests, do not overuse them.

The following are the most common injuries due to improper driving posture:

  • Leg discomfort.
  • Eye fatigue.
  • Stiffness in the neck.
  • Side pain.
  • Lumbar pain.
  • Headache.
  • Degeneration of the spinal disc.

All of these can lead to longer-lasting pain or discomfort in the joints and muscles. Apart from the most obvious symptoms, there are others, such as fatigue, which have very serious implications for road safety.

By ignoring safety rules, drivers put at great risk not only their lives, but the lives of passengers and other road users.What happens during a traffic accident? With a sharp push, the driver’s body moves forward, hands rest on the steering wheel, and feet on the pedals. If he sits incorrectly, then the limbs straighten completely, hitting the “bottom” of the car. As a result, injuries to the ankle, knees, etc. are possible. If the fit is correct, then the driver’s legs and arms should be slightly bent.

To get the ideal driving posture, the first step is to adjust the seat longitudinally by carefully pushing the clutch while keeping your left leg half-bent (approximately 120 degrees).It is then recommended to adopt an almost vertical backrest tilt, as a very excessive tilt hinders rapid arm movement.

As for the steering wheel, then on it the hands should be semi-bend, forming an angle of about 90 degrees. When the driver extends his right hand, the wrist should be on the steering wheel ring at twelve o’clock.

It is necessary to adjust the headrest so that the head is at a distance of about 4 or 5 cm from it.As its main function is to avoid whiplash and not to provide comfort. It is important to correctly adjust the belt height if the vehicle offers this adjustment.

The driver must remain at a reasonable distance from the steering wheel in order to move freely. If it is very low, it can hit the legs, and it will not be possible to maneuver. You also need to make sure that you can easily see all the commands on the car dashboard.

Finally, the mirrors must be correctly positioned: the interior mirror must fully reflect the rear window. The mirrors will be correctly adjusted if, when overtaking the car, the driver sees the vehicle first through the inside mirror, and when it disappears from it, it appears in the outside mirror.

It is also important to wear the belt in the correct position. It is worn around the waist and left collarbone. The belt should not be too tight or too loose.People vary in height, so you need to adapt the belt to your needs. For pregnant women, the strap must cross the shoulder closest to the door, between the chest and the side of the abdomen, otherwise it could hurt the baby. The lower part of the belt should also run under the belly, in the pelvic area.