Lumbar support for a car seat

Dr Mark Porter / 30 August 2017

Dr Mark Porter recommends a healthy driving position for a reader with a bad back.



Q: Can you suggest a good lumbar support for my car seat? I have had back trouble most of my life, but it has definitely been worse since I changed my car last year.

A: There is no one support that helps everyone, in the same way that no car seat can fit every driver perfectly. Car manufacturers spend fortunes trying to engineer a comfortable driving position but, even with adjustable seats and steering wheels, they have to settle for a compromise that suits a variety of shapes and sizes.

I would concentrate on optimising your driving position before considering extra cushions. Back problems are often compounded by sitting too far away from the wheel. Try adjusting your seat and/or steering wheel, so that you can put your wrists on the top of the rim while sitting back in the seat. Not only does this reduce leverage on your neck, shoulders and lower spine, it also discourages slouching and allows better car control (the reason racing drivers sit so close to the wheel).

Another tip is to make an extra effort to sit up tall when you first get in, and adjust your rear-view mirror accordingly. If you start to slouch, your view of the back will be compromised but use this as a prompt to sit up straight again, rather than adjust your mirror down.

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