The findings also indicated that as many as 5% of people asked had taken the equivalent of a full working week off work (5 days) because of back pain caused by poor quality car seats. Volvo claims that its research demonstrates that pain from poor car seats is bad enough for nearly a third of drivers to see a doctor or physiotherapist, costing the NHS around £192 million in GP appointments and hospital visits.
Volvo’s findings echo the results of a survey carried out by the Commercial Vehicle arm of Volkswagen earlier this year, which claimed that 70% of British van drivers had taken time off work with ‘Builder’s Back’ pain. The report suggested that uncomfortable van seats and drivers sitting in the wrong position was triggering back issues, especially as many drivers were spending up to seven hours a day in their vans.
Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK’s managing director, said: “Back pain from poor quality car seats is a bigger problem than many think.
“Not only is it costing the UK economy billions in lost productivity as employees take sick leave, but poor-quality car seats are also placing an unnecessary burden on the NHS, costing hospitals and GP surgeries hundreds of millions a year.
According to the survey of 2,000 adults who drive to work (or who use a car for work purposes), men are more likely to find their car seats uncomfortable, with around 50% of male drivers complaining that their seats often caused them back pain when driving.
When asked which areas they would like to see improved, most drivers wanted more lumbar (or lower back) support, while a third wanted more adjustability to suit their frames.
When choosing a new car, seat comfort is a key priority for 63% of drivers, with around 20% going as far as swapping a previous car for a newer model with better, more comfortable seats.
Choosing A Comfortable Motability Car
When you visit a Motability dealership it's important that you take the car for a proper test drive to make sure that the seats are comfortable and supportive, especially if you're going to be the main driver. Ensure that you can reach the steering wheel and all the controls comfortably from your preferred seating position, and remember to ask your Motability specialist about the features that the car seats have to help the driver and any passengers find a comfortable position.
Top Tips From The British Chiropractic Association
To prevent back pain while behind the wheel, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has published a set of practical tips that should help most UK motorists ease the strain of driving.
Sit correctly in your seat: Make sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. The seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.
Feet should fall naturally onto the pedals: You should be able to press the pedals to the floor by mainly moving your ankle and only using your leg a little. Avoid wearing wear high heels, or very thick-soled shoes, as you will have to overextend the ankle in order to put pressure on the pedals.
Exercise while stuck in traffic: Try buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat – tensing and relaxing) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles.
Mirrors: Set your mirror positions to suit you before you drive off. The mirror positions should allow you to see all around the car with the movement of your eyes with minimal head movement.
Relax: A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.
On longer journeys, the BCA also advises that drivers should stop and stretch their legs (and arms) at least every two hours, stopping more frequently if they are feeling any discomfort.
Adaptations And Motability
Over 50,000 Motability Scheme customers have adaptations fitted to their cars to make their experience as a driver or passenger as easy and comfortable as possible, and these include seating adaptations. There are around 150 adaptations can be fitted to a Motability car at no extra cost, and these include specialist seating and access adaptations like transfer plates, hoists and swivel chairs.
The survey commissioned by Volvo was based on a sample of 2,000 UK adults who drive to work or for work purposes. For more information and to read the original release visit Volvo Media UK.