Do car seats drive your back pain?

June 10 2015

Car seats are often super-sculpted these days. Trying to make us comfortable, most integrate a lumbar support - convex cushioning which assumes that we need to support the back in a curved shape at waist level.

Car seats are often super-sculpted these days. Trying to make us comfortable, most integrate a lumbar support - convex cushioning which assumes that we need to support the back in a curved shape at waist level.

Yet if we study the posture of populations who suffer very little back pain – traditional rural societies as found in village Africa, India, and South America - we see that their spines are significantly straighter than the curves we in the industrialised world now regard as normal.

Rather than a notable lumbar curve, traditional populations have a straighter stacking of the spinal column. This is also the shape of our own infants, most athletes, and our pre-twentieth century ancestors.

This is just one of the differences that challenges conventional wisdom on back shape, posture, and what is truly normal and healthy. Exactly why and how we can return to our natural posture is brilliantly set out in Esther Gokhale’s book, ‘8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back’, and her anthropological evidence is compelling.

The book teaches us to sit, stand and walk as nature intended. No fancy equipment is needed, but a ‘Stretchsit’ cushion has been designed to meet the challenges of poor chairs and car seats. Placed above the waist, it ensures a therapeutic sitting position in two ways:

It neutralises inbuilt lumbar supports by filling in above them - this also stops your upper back, neck and shoulders from being pushed forward.

Its rubbery ‘nubs’ produce gentle traction in the lower back as you sit, therapeutically lengthening the spine and taking weight off compressed discs and nerves.

The 'Stretchsit' cushion is available from Gokhale Method teacher Clare Chapman, at £38. Tel: 07982 231317.

Car seat