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Shoulder & neck pain after driving

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,208 ✭✭✭ Airyfairy12

    Wasnt sure where to post this, mods please redirect thread if not in correct forum.

    During and after I drive my car I always get a pain in my right should & neck, I dont know whats causing it. Its been happening since I started driving. Im sitting here with a heat pack on my shoulder after driving for just 30 minutes today.
    Does anyone else experience this & have any solutions?



  • My guess would be that your seat and mirrors are not adjusted properly. Perhaps you're gripping too tightly, stretching too much, bunched up too much or having to crane your neck to look in mirrors and your blindspot.

  • Are you new driver? Sometimes you can be too tense when driving. What about your aircon, do you have it blowing past your side?

  • Thanks, yes I am a new driver and probably still a bit tense driving, this could explain it.

  • It could be you have muscle imbalance....over used strong muscles versus underused weak muscles.

    Postural muscles that lift away from the torso are the most under used. And muscles that pull towards the torso and that pull us forward are way over used.

    I would take up yoga or pilates.

    It could also be poor seat position etc. Do you notice it in another car?

  • Faith wrote: »
    My guess would be that your seat and mirrors are not adjusted properly.
    That was my first thought too F. Car seats can vary a lot in levels of support and adjustment too. There've been cars I've driven that I could feel muscle stress creeping in no matter how much I fiddled with the adjustments. Now things have gotten much better down the years, with adjustable wheels and more adjustments in seats, but cars are still built around a "standard" body size and mostly around men. This was highlighted not so long ago around car safety and crash tests and crash test dummies, which are strongly biased towards standard sized men, even though(or because of that) women drivers are more likely to suffer injuries in crashes. If you're say a much shorter woman(or man for that matter) getting into a comfortable driving position can be tricky.

    If your seat has an adjustment to raise and lower the seat, maybe try raising it? Trying to strain to look up could be the issue. Make sure your seat is close enough that you're not straining at all to operate the pedals. If you're even slightly tilting your hip to depress the clutch, that'll hurt with time(if your car has a clutch of course).

    Same for the reach to the steering wheel. It should be close enough that you have a comfortable bend in your arms while holding the wheel(I've one mate who drives straight armed like he's in a laid back 1970's TV cop show :D and wonders why he gets back trouble).

    Lumbar support another one. Some car seats I've sat in were decidedly under par on that score, including one I owned years back. To the degree that in the end I got a third party "sports" seat and installed it(easier to do back in the day). You can get detachable lumbar supports for car seats. Here's a link to one from an Ireland based crowd. Maybe that would help? Under a tenner so might be worth a try. You can also get that kinda thing in shops like Halfords who have a couple branches around the country.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.

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  • PS if it helps, this is a good guide to the whole setting up your car for your needs. I remember reading somewhere that a study into this sorta thing showed that a large percentage of people had their seat and controls set up in ways where issues could arise in the long term. Well, it's not really a subject any of us are told about or instructed in how to set it up optimally. Shooting the breeze one day with a physiotherapist I know and she told me she saw a fair number of people where back and shoulder trouble was caused by or exacerbated by bad driving positions.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.

  • Thank you so much Wibbs, that was really helpful

  • Put a warm compress (you'll buy it in pharmacy), go get massage and go to the swimming pool (but swim on your back, not frog style). Stiff muscles should relax under the influence of heat and massage.