x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Ease the stress of the Abu Dhabi-Dubai commute

Dr Charles Jones offers tips on how to keep your back pain-free when you drive long distances.

ABU DHABI // Dr Charles Jones says finding the car to suit you is the best way for those who commute to avoid back problems .

* Try the seats in the cars you are considering and make sure the driver's seat, at least, is adjustable.

* If you share a car, make sure the seat position, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted to suit you each time you get in.

* Make sure the seat and steering wheel allow for the recommended 25.5cm distance between yourself and the airbag cover in your steering wheel.

* The mirrors must be in the right position to minimise head movement.

The seatbelt should always lie across the top of the shoulder and never rub against the neck or the top of the arm.

* Depending on the height of the driver, the position at which the seatbelt emerges from the body of the car may need to be changed.

*Once the seat is properly adjusted, the feet should fall naturally on to the pedals. The pedal should be pressed to the floor by mainly moving the ankle.

*Avoid wearing high heels or very thick-soled shoes, to make it easier on your ankles when using the pedals. Such shoes make it much harder to deal with an emergency stop and raise the thigh from the seat, reducing leg support and creating tension and possibly cramps in the calves. This will impair the blood flow on a long journey.

*A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, making the seat take the driver's weight.

* If stuck in traffic, exercise. Try buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing the hands into the steering wheel and the back into the seat, tensing and relaxing), and shoulder shrugs and circles.

* Leave the tight clothes at home as they will restrict movement.