Proper Sitting Posture for Crazy NJ Traffic

Proper Sitting Posture for Crazy NJ Traffic

BY: Chris Lybarger, PT, DPT

If you live in New Jersey, and especially North and Central aspects, then you know a little about sitting in traffic. Whether it’s the daily commute to and from work or trying to head into Philadelphia or NYC for a day trip on the weekend, most of us understand all too well the struggle and time consuming beast it is. What most of don’t take into account though is the toll this takes on our bodies. Biomechanically, we are not designed to sit and especially for prolonged periods. It increases the load placed throughout the spine. If you have this increased load/weight placed through the spine for an extended period and repeat day after day, at some point the body will biomechanically falter. This leads to those all too familiar spinal disc issues we hear about, as well as hip/spinal mobility restrictions, soft tissue strains, trigger point irritations due to postural dysfunction, headaches, etc.

Several positioning tips for sitting in the car to maintain proper posture are as follows:

  1. Sit back and flush against the seat, including low back and head
  2. Use adjustable lumbar support to near full (or as tolerated), or if your car does not have the adjustable feature use a small rolled hand towel and place in the arch of low back while back against the seat
  3. Adjust seat distance from pedals (while still being able to reach steering wheel and pedals themselves) to allow knees to stay parallel or just below the thighs while still having low back against seat. In other words, do not sit so close to the wheel so knees are above the hips. If the car seat itself prevents this try placing a cushion or wedge under the buttocks to elevate the hips
  4. When adjusting the angle of back of the seat, it should be reclined no more then 10-20 degrees
  5. Tilt seat cushion until it evenly supports your entire thigh without pressure in any one particular area and it does not hit the back of your knees
  1. Adjust the seat belt to fit you instead of adjusting the seat to accommodate the seatbelt position
  2. Bring the steering wheel down and toward you to minimize reach23

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