7

votes

Do you modify your car seat for better posture?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

...and, in case you do, how?

Obviously, the best choice would be not to use a car at all, sure.

But those drives upwards of 60 minutes really drive me nuts. Car seats, by design, seem to force me into a hunched position. The main problem seems to be the lower spine. Just putting a pillow there might help but that's just one solution and not a very satisfying one.

Most cars are designed for average-sized people. That seems to pose an additional problem for those of us who are 1,90m and above.

We have optimized our toilets. Now, how do we paleohack our car seats?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 10:19 AM

Felix, I do the same thing. My car, a VW Passat with automatic transmission, seems to have a place for my left foot to the left, where a clutch would normally be. I use it as a foot rest. :)

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on January 03, 2012
at 08:48 AM

One additional thing I found out that, being tall, none of the angles on a car seat actually do work. Due to my legs being so long, when my feet are on the pedals, my thighs don't really rest on the seat. That means by whole weight is on my butt which is very exhausting. So as long as I don't need the left foot (manual gear), I tend to pull it back and step it to the side, thus effectively lowering the knee and resting the thigh on the seat. That's at least a bit of relief.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:44 PM

In racing I think it's to be slightly less fatiguing and hold you back a little under heavy braking rather than rely on the stress of the safety belts. In a collision I think it helps ensure you are back against the seat as much as possible reducing whiplash effects. But this is just me guessing at this point.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 19, 2011
at 06:19 AM

Yay, I built one out of hard rubber foam yesterday and it works. It measures 33cm x 27 cm x 6cm, looks kind of like this: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRLsWTd1lFl11cudVOqIsoUv08CWO8U-eqMc0IBY8TW1sbMaWUP

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 18, 2011
at 01:30 PM

you know, i think it can just be used in any chair at all. it was about 30 bucks, lumbar curve cushion with a stiff (particleboard?) backing. works well. i think i paid about 30 bucks through my chiro.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:25 AM

Well, if you are taller your head might touch the ceiling, forcing you into an even more crouched position (my girlfriend had a car like that once. Not fun.)

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:24 AM

That support cushion, is it made specifically for those (curved) car seats? Sounds very interesting.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:22 AM

I kind of tried the same a couple of times. Not moving the seat way back, but the rest. Quite comfortable, actually. But there are problems. What about safety? And what about the knees still being above the pelvis, meaning the latter is still tilted in a less-than-optimal position and your whole weight resting buttocks instead of the whole backside of your thihgs (actually a problem I missed when I wrote the question, I only became aware of the problem not because of an aching back but aching buttocks).

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:17 AM

Those are concerns I had in mind too, of course. But I don't think safety excludes good posture. One of the main problems seems to what you describe as "the whole seat tilted slighty back". That's what makes it hard to keep the pelvis in a good position. In what way is this tilt needed for safety?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on April 17, 2011
at 04:54 PM

Yes. Shorter than an average man, I'd guess.

E3267155f6962f293583fc6a0b98793e

(1085)

on April 17, 2011
at 02:39 PM

It is a problem for those of us shorter an average.

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9 Answers

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5
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 17, 2011
at 01:16 PM

i use a lumbar support cushion that i got through my chiro that really helps a lot. and, my yoga teacher told me to always be sure that the back of your head is actually TOUCHING the head rest behind you. that makes a HUGE difference, and pulls your head and spine right up. i hate how drivers seats are so curved- i used to get out of the car feeling like all my organs were compressed. try doing it 9 months pregnant. NOT FUN.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 18, 2011
at 01:30 PM

you know, i think it can just be used in any chair at all. it was about 30 bucks, lumbar curve cushion with a stiff (particleboard?) backing. works well. i think i paid about 30 bucks through my chiro.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:24 AM

That support cushion, is it made specifically for those (curved) car seats? Sounds very interesting.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 19, 2011
at 06:19 AM

Yay, I built one out of hard rubber foam yesterday and it works. It measures 33cm x 27 cm x 6cm, looks kind of like this: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRLsWTd1lFl11cudVOqIsoUv08CWO8U-eqMc0IBY8TW1sbMaWUP

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 02, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I've got the same problem, as I'm tall. So had to play with getting the seat in the right position, headrest up higher, moving the mirrors to force me to have a straight back, and had to adjust the steering wheel so I can still see the dials.

Despite being tall, I don't move the seat all the way back, and my head almost touches the ceiling. If I moved the seat all the way back, I'd be in a leaning position, and more likely to slump.

The key point is to position the mirrors so you can't see if you're slouching, so it forces you to sit straight up. Trouble is modern car seats are designed to be too comfortable so you'd tend to sit in them as if they were a sofa, which is dangerous since you need to be alert when driving. Forcing the mirrors so you can see them best when you're sitting up is my solution and so far it's worked for me.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on January 03, 2012
at 08:48 AM

One additional thing I found out that, being tall, none of the angles on a car seat actually do work. Due to my legs being so long, when my feet are on the pedals, my thighs don't really rest on the seat. That means by whole weight is on my butt which is very exhausting. So as long as I don't need the left foot (manual gear), I tend to pull it back and step it to the side, thus effectively lowering the knee and resting the thigh on the seat. That's at least a bit of relief.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on January 03, 2012
at 10:19 AM

Felix, I do the same thing. My car, a VW Passat with automatic transmission, seems to have a place for my left foot to the left, where a clutch would normally be. I use it as a foot rest. :)

1
5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on April 18, 2011
at 03:15 AM

Hey everyone, its fun to find ways to improve your posture, but please remember in an accident that this isn't just a seat but a device that works with your seat-belt to help you survive. Without a properly placed headrest the damage to your neck will likely be much worse. The middle of the headrest should be around the middle of your head and about 1" away from the back of it.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says "If every driver and passenger were to perform the simple act of properly adjusting their headrests, the number of whiplash injuries could be reduced by 40%. That could save people from unnecessary pain and suffering, and policyholders could end up saving money on their insurance premiums". Like seatbelts, head restraints are an important safety feature that can help reduce severe injury. At CAA Insurance, we urge you to take the time to adjust your headrest. You could be preventing serious injury to yourself or a loved one. (Source: http://www.caasco.com/insurance/auto-vehicle-insurance/adjust-your-headrest.jsp - and no, I am not canadian ;) )

For the rest of the posture, I think its important to be in the optimal position to have maximum control over the 3000lb+ vehicle you have traveling down the road. I look to racecars... Most racecars are setup with the top and bottom portion of the seat at 90 degrees and the whole seat titled slightly back. The pedals should be setup so you have full control of the pedal and it bottoms out just before locking your leg (this applies mostly to operation of the clutch, which wont apply to most of you... so use the dead pedal instead). Next, the steering wheel should be set at a height that allows you to see the road as best as possible but also taking into consideration the dashboard display. Lastly, you should adjust the distance to the steering wheel so that your wrist can rest comfortably on the wheel without leaning forward. This will give you best control at all times (for dodging bad drivers).

Sorry if this isn't the answer you were looking for but cars are not paleo and I think the safety of yourself and others is paramount.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:17 AM

Those are concerns I had in mind too, of course. But I don't think safety excludes good posture. One of the main problems seems to what you describe as "the whole seat tilted slighty back". That's what makes it hard to keep the pelvis in a good position. In what way is this tilt needed for safety?

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on May 16, 2011
at 02:44 PM

In racing I think it's to be slightly less fatiguing and hold you back a little under heavy braking rather than rely on the stress of the safety belts. In a collision I think it helps ensure you are back against the seat as much as possible reducing whiplash effects. But this is just me guessing at this point.

1
A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

on April 17, 2011
at 02:46 PM

For the past week during my commutes I changed things up that seem to help, at least for me. I crank my car seat all the way back, so I am not tempted to rely on it for support. I tnudge my tailbone up against the bottom of the back support part of the seat, and project the torso forward just slightly.

Then I simply work on keeping a sort of straight and long back line via tightening the "inner corset" muscles. That also helps support the spine during any bounce that might get through the vehicle's shocks.

I still catch myself slouching a bit over the wheel, but it's getting better as I'm trying to flip the intuitive position. After a week of this I have soreness in areas I didn't know there were muscles. But it's a good thing.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on April 18, 2011
at 06:22 AM

I kind of tried the same a couple of times. Not moving the seat way back, but the rest. Quite comfortable, actually. But there are problems. What about safety? And what about the knees still being above the pelvis, meaning the latter is still tilted in a less-than-optimal position and your whole weight resting buttocks instead of the whole backside of your thihgs (actually a problem I missed when I wrote the question, I only became aware of the problem not because of an aching back but aching buttocks).

0
4719bcb7eea8bfa4d93a653c85eab943

on April 02, 2013
at 12:37 PM

A Car seat back support is the most suitable and convenient way to maintain a good posture while driving or travelling in an automobile. This device can be used to make your car seat comfortable and keeps your back in a good position; therefore, if you experience any kind of discomfort while driving, then using this support can help you. You can also replace your car seats with comfortable seats from http://www.automotix.net/usedautoparts.html. I also bought seats for my car from them and find the new seats to be very comfortable and no longer face any problems while driving.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:35 AM

I am 6'6" and find it very hard to fit in a car. The F150 fits me the best.

0
7ab65bb5ae9663f21d5df6d75a035f7a

(20)

on January 02, 2012
at 05:31 AM

I've had occasion to notice, lately, the incredibly large differences in how people position their car seats. Some appear to be sleeping while at the wheel, if the backward tilt of their seat is any indicator! I do try to tilt my seat into a more upright position...and I agree with the poster who suggests that we all mind the location of our heads in relation to our head rests, for neck safety in an accident.

0
2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 17, 2011
at 01:42 PM

It is not the car seat that needs modification. It is how one uses the seat which is all important - the Alexander Technique provides the answers.

0
C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on April 17, 2011
at 01:14 PM

A friend of mine is an athletic therapist and he says that the car seat should be set up so you are sitting almost straight up. Pretty much the position your back would be in if you pulled your shoulders back and stuck your chest out, kind of that natural lumbar curve most people should have.

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