Can Migraine Headaches Be Caused By Driving?

by John Blachford - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 664 Share This!

Nowadays we all have to drive more than ever and if our car seats aren't set up properly it can lead to headaches. have a shiny new car that is the envy of the whole street. It has electric seats with forward, back, up, down, tilt, lumbar support, built-in heating and massage and if you talk to it nicely it will probably make you a cup of tea! And what do you do? Jump in, slide the seat back and drive off. Now those nice engineers didn't put all the variables in to annoy you, these are to allow you to optimize your driving position and so be able to get to your destination without tiredness or headaches.

1. So sit in the driving seat and first of all slide your seat backwards and forwards until your feet are resting on the pedals and the backs of your legs are lightly touching the seat. You should be able to relax fully in the seat and put your hands at the "ten to two or quarter to three" positions on the steering wheel such that your arms are not fully straight but your elbows are slightly bent - you are not a boy racer (are you?).

2. The headrest should be adjusted / tilted so it is possible to rest your head on it while driving. If that is not possible then slide it up so if you leaned your head backwards it would touch the middle of the rest - very important if you have a crash.

3. By the way, what are the safest cars to drive? Apparently it's Volvo and Saab. According to an investigation into car seats, these two make of car employ a remarkable feature that means in the event of a crash your seat moves forward and cradles your head and neck to protect you from whiplash. Brilliant!

4. If your seat lifts then have it so you can clearly see all the dials through the steering wheel while sitting in the correct position.

5. Having done all of these then adjust the lumbar support (it supports the small of your back) so that your low back is resting against it but not being pushed out of position.

Good, so now you have set up your car and now you can drive forever without aches or pains? Of course not, you still have to look after yourself and listen to your body and its warning signs.

6. If you going on a long journey make sure you take lots of water with you (and then drink it!). It is much better for you head than anything else and will prevent you from dehydrating - a major cause of headaches.

7. Also if you drink a lot then you will have to take bathroom breaks - which is what I want you to do. Taking regular breaks and walking about and stretching will ease the muscles after they have been stuck in one position for hours. This relaxes them and takes pressure off your neck.

8. If it is sunny wear sunglasses. Yes I know that sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at the number of people who try and get by with the cars' sun visor plus squinting as their weapon of choice against sunny days! You see it is not just the sun in the sky your eyes have to worry about - reflected sunlight can be distracting and downright dangerous. Without sunglasses you will squint more, your eyes will over dilate and the muscles of your forehead will tire. Also when you move from light into shade the eyes have to adjust accordingly, if it is very bright then this is a tiring job and tired eyes can lead to headaches.

9. At night you need to take more breaks than the day. The dazzling from other car headlights and street lights is again hard on your eyes. Plus you will have to concentrate a lot more on a night journey which means that you end up holding your neck more stiffly.

Related Tags: headaches, headache, migraine headache, frequent headache, eye strain, visual headache

John Blachford is an Osteopath with years of experience in the field of headaches. For further information on how to rid yourself of headaches go to

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