Don’t let the the central line wear you down…
Most of us spend large chunks of our work day doing it, whether by tube, train, car, bus, motorbike, bike or on foot and the daily commute can not only be an unwelcome source of stress but can also take its toll on our backs.
According to research by the British Chiropractic Association, almost a third of the working population relies on public transport and the journey is not short of stress with 50% left fighting for seats and only occasionally or rarely sitting down. In fact, one in ten commuters never gets to sit down at all and one in three commuters (32%) are currently suffering from back pain.
So add stress, running late, too many people, carrying a work bag and lack of seats together and it can be a potential nightmare for our backs….
But here are a few tips to help make it as spine friendly as possible.
Train / Tube
- If you manage to get a seat on your commute, make sure to sit back as far in the seat as possible making sure to have your bottom and shoulder blades against the back rest.
- If you have to stand, make sure you wear comfortable shoes (not high heels!). Try standing with your feet hip distance apart and try to avoid over stretching to hold onto a rail. But remember, standing can be the best way to travel, especially as we spend most of our work day sitting so standing up can be a nice break for our backs.
- If you are carrying a bag, ideally it should be a rucksack. Make sure to carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so the bag is held close to your back.
- Make sure to regularly check the contents of your bag to ensure that you are only carrying what’s necessary. People often carry round unnecessary extra weight!
- If you are commuting by car, it is very important to make sure the seat is adjusted for you each time you drive. Driving remains a key trigger of back pain, contributing significantly to the length of time spent sitting inactive each day at both work and at home. Sitting down can put twice as much pressure on the spine as standing up.
- To make sure that it is a good driving position, ensure the seat is angled slightly backwards and your elbows are at a comfortable and relaxed angle so the hands fall naturally onto the steering wheel. Many back problems are caused or aggravated by poor driving posture.
- Relax at the wheel, as this reduces stress on the spine and allows your seat to take your weight.
- Take regular breaks; stop, get out and stretch your legs at least every two hours.
- Leave the tight clothes at home; they will restrict your movement and feel less comfortable.