In 2019, a report published by the union group TUC suggested that the average commute time was continuing to increase for UK residents. The report found that the average worker spent 5 minutes more time commuting each day compared to 10 years previous to that.
While this might not seem like much, it equates to about 20 to 30 extra hours per year. Commute times are particularly bad for people living in London, who can spend an average of 1 hour and 19 minutes commuting to work each day.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has seen people commute less as people have been required to work from home, commuter numbers have started to rise again as lockdowns are eased. It is therefore timely to remind commuters of the need to take care of their backs during their commute.
Unfortunately, spending a lot of time in stationary positions while commuting can be tough on the back. That’s because the muscles and connective tissues that make up the spine are not well designed for holding the body in the same position for a long time.
Eventually, long commutes can cause back pain or damage to the spine which might result in an unplanned trip to a London chiropractor for chiropractic treatment. To help you avoid unnecessary back pain, this post will share a few tips on back safe commuting.
Preventing Your Commute From Causing You Back Pain
#1 – Think About Footwear
If you commute via a busy bus route or train line with limited seating availability, you may be spending a lot of time on your feet. Unfortunately, this can be taxing on the lower back. This can be seen by the large number of bus and train commuters visiting our London chiropractic clinic.
One solution to this issue is to improve the quality of your footwear. Wearing shows that are cushioned and provide plenty of arch support can relive the amount of pressure on your back.
#2 – Stand Tall
Another tip for commuters who spend a lot of time standing is to think about your posture during the commute. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Stand tall, with both feet slightly apart so you have a strong base.
- Keep your neck straight
- Look forward, keep your shoulders back and breathe deeply.
- If you are using a smart phone or tablet, hold it high, so you aren’t hunched over while using it
- Avoid over stretching when holding onto an overhead bar
#3 – Sit Correctly
If you do manage to get a seat on your bus or train, keep thinking about posture:
- Keep your back and shoulder blades against the back of the seat
- Keep your torso straight
- Place your feet slightly apart and knees bent at about 90 degrees
- Remember that it’s ok to shift position, but avoid slouching
#4 – Move About During The Commute
Look for opportunities to move while on the bus or train. If there are plenty of seats available, get up every now and then and have a stretch. You can also perform foot circles, buttock clenches, and shoulder shrugs while in your seat.
#5 – Make Your Car Ergonomic
If you use your car to commute, take the time to adjust your car seat position, head rest, steering wheel and mirrors so they have good ergonomics. Try to make your car a comfortable environment that supports good posture.
#6 – Be Careful What You Carry On The Commute
A long commute can be made even tougher by the objects that you are forced to carry. If you have a poorly fitted backpack or satchel containing a heavy load, you may find yourself suffering from back pain and having to visit a chiropractic clinic unexpectedly!
If you need to carry objects to work, a rucksack is usually the best option. It can be adjusted so the load you are carrying is centrally located and close to your back. This will reduce the risk of muscle or ligament strains.
Another option is a wheeled mini case. However, if you use one, push it instead of pulling it. This will reduce the strain on your shoulders and back.
Regardless of the option you use, regularly check the contents of your bags and remove any unnecessary items.
Visiting London Chiropractor MotionBack
If you are suffering back pain our experienced team of chiropractors at MotionBack, our central London chiropractic clinic are here to help. To book an appointment call our clinic on 0207 112 5408 or book online at our website here.