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How can you adjust your seat to help?

You can help your back by making sure that your driving position is as comfortable as possible, with all driving controls and switches within easy reach.

Bring your seat forward so you can comfortably depress the clutch without over stretching. If your vehicle is an automatic, use the accelerator pedal location as a guide for your seat position.

Adjust the seat so that your hips and knees are comfortably flexed.

Sit in an upright posture, do not hunch over the steering wheel or slouch in the seat. Adjust the angle of the backrest so that your arms are comfortably positioned on

the steering wheel. Your arms and shoulders should feel relaxed and you should have a clear view of the road.

If your vehicle has any lumbar support, adjust this to provide a gentle pressure against the lowest part of your back. If your seat lacks support, you may find it beneficial to use a lumbar roll or back support.

Adjust your mirrors correctly - making full use of all your mirrors will minimise the need for you to twist around in the seat.

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis Cervical Spondylosis is a general term for any degenerative changes in the upper spine. Cervical spondylosis is not really a diagnosis, but a reference to the changes that occur, often with age, to the discs and vertebrae of the neck.

The inter vertebral discs act as a springy cushion. They are made of an outer casing, called the annulus fibrosus and an inner softer jelly-like' substance, the nucleus. The nucleus shrinks with age and becomes tougher and more fibrous. The bony surfaces above and below the disc, called the vertebral end plates, thicken and spread so that a rim of bone develops around the edge of the disc. Degenerative changes can also affect the facet joints that lie behind and on either side of the vertebral canal. The changes in these joints are also known as osteo-arthritis. Spondylosis and osteo-arthritis, usually occur together. Extra bony growths on the vertebrae, called osteophytes may also be present and can press on the nerve roots causing pain and irritation.

What can you do?

If you have a sudden (acute) attack, ice packs, painkillers, gentle exercise and relaxation are important to try and switch off the pain. If symptoms persist, then an assessment by your GP or a physical therapist (physiotherapist, magnetic therapist, chiropractor or osteopath) may be necessary. This will help determine the cause of your pain and possible treatments for it.

Self care and life-style changes are also of great importance. Good posture whilst standing, sitting, working at a computer, driving and sleeping is essential, as these are all potential high risk areas for necks. Pain in the neck area usually creates a great deal of tension in the rest of the body, particularly around the shoulders, middle back and head so training yourself to relax might be helpful. You may find that listening to some soothing music or a relaxation tape is useful. Neck strengthening exercises can also alleviate the pain of muscles that are in spasm, but it is important to get good advice from one of the therapists mentioned above or a qualified exercise practitioner.

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