Monthly Archives: November 2023

Tips for car seating and long car rides

Car seating can be a challenge–easier to get a new office chair than a new car! Remember a “change is sometimes as good as a rest.” When your car seat is causing pain in your back (or seat), consider these options. We suggest an inflatable lumbar support and a towel roll or two. Even if your car has a lumbar support, an inflatable cushion gives you more options (shown is the Medic Air back pillo). Towel rolls are versatile supports for multiple areas. (Non-skid fabric is only needed if you feel you are sliding on your seat.) The following 5 options can be used individually or (in some cases) together. This is not an exhaustive list! Talk to your PT about car seating and adjustment options.

Option 1: lumbar support low on back. The air displaces laterally to support the sides of the body.
Option 2: towel roll placed along side of the thigh to “buttress” the hip and thigh in a neutral position. The hips naturally externally rotate when we sit. This contributes to buttock and inner thigh tightness with prolonged sitting. Supporting the hip and thigh in a “neutral” position (not externally rotated position) reduces this source of discomfort. Avoid sitting “on” the towel roll — could compress the sciatic nerve. Wedge the towel roll along side the thigh so the thigh doesn’t roll “out.”
Option 3: place the towel roll vertically along your lumbar/thoracic spine. This helps improve posture and lifts the chest up.
Option 4: place a towel roll in the space between the seat and the back rest to “level” the seat. Often car seats have a slope that puts the hips in too much flexion leading to hip flexor tightness (knees are higher than hips). Elevating the back of the seat can put the hips in a more open, favorable angle.
Option 5: place a towel roll horizontally across the back–similar (but different) to having a full lumbar support across the back. Adjust the level of the horizontal towel roll to a comfortable place along the spine.

Remember to shout “Lhagaylo!” when cresting a mountain for good luck!