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How to position your arms when driving

How to position your arms when driving

First Move principles teach us how to use our bodies safely and effectively to avoid physical strain and injury. These principles apply in all aspects of our lives be it work, home, sport and recreation.

Neck and upper back discomfort is a common complaint with long periods of driving. This is very relevant with the upcoming summer holiday season – many of us spend hours on the road – on our way to spend time with family – or to get to our favourite holiday spot to relax and unwind. Driving and gripping the steering wheel is not a heavy task – but the sustained posture and constant gripping can transfer tension through to the neck, upper back and shoulders.

So how to avoid driving strain?

Look at the 2 options below:

A minor adjustment – but a significant one when driving for long distances.

The difference between these 2 grips relates back to 2 of the First Move principles.

  • Pinky Power

  • Power Wings


Option 1
Thumb over the top of the steering wheel – the weight is shifted onto the pinky side of the hand and elbows drop down into a Power Wing (remember its thumbs up for Power Wing) In this position, the vibration gets absorbed by the strong abdominal and core muscles which are designed to do this job.


Option 2
Thumb around the steering wheel – the weight comes onto the index finger and elbows point out in a Chicken Wing (remember its thumb down for Chicken Wing). In this position, the vibration gets transferred up to your neck and shoulders. The outcome is often a sore neck.


The intention is not to advise on whether the 10 am – 2 p.m. grip is superior to the 9 am – 3 pm grip or vice versa – but rather how a simple change of thumb position will change the vibration and tension through your body.


Of course, the other factors of adjusting your seating to suit and having regular breaks are also important factors in your driving comfort. So, if you’re getting discomfort while driving – look at your thumbs. A simple change may mean you get to your destination without that pain in the neck!


The post How to position your arms when driving appeared first on AIM Injury Management and Prevention Programmes Northland.

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