Does your back ache after sitting behind the wheel for long? If so, chances are you’re not wearing your seatbelt correctly.
Worryingly, new figures suggest that most of us don’t wear our seatbelts in the way in which they were designed and safety-tested. A recent survey (1) revealed that more than 95% of drivers finish their journeys with at least a one-inch gap between their lower back and the seat. This altered sitting position puts strain on the supportive muscles of the lower back, leading to back pain.
Several studies have found a link between driving and back problems with people who drive for a living being statistically more likely to suffer(2). Back pain affects an estimated four out of five UK adults (80%)(3)at some point in life, costs the NHS more than GBP1.3 million per day (4) and, together with neck and muscle pain, accounted for 31 million lost working days in the UK in 2013 (5).
Now SHOFT, a simple, palm-sized device that takes just two seconds to fit on to your seatbelt, could put an end to those troublesome twinges – welcome news for Britain’s 36 million motorists (6), who spend an average of nearly 10 hours a week behind the wheel (7).
SHOFT addresses the main cause of backache in drivers by helping to keep the spine aligned with the seat back. It does this by eliminating the slack that naturally creeps into the seatbelt as the journey progresses. When you buckle up, its unique inbuilt ‘brake pad’ made of GRIPtene engages the lap belt section of the seatbelt, keeping it tensioned across your pelvis for the whole journey. This helps you avoid slipping down in the seat and keeps your spine aligned with the car’s seat back, supporting your back muscles and preventing strain.
Besides improving posture, it helps you to sit in the same position that all crash-test dummies are in for car safety tests, and helps to comply with the safety guidelines from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
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SHOFT made the finals of the UK road safety charity BRAKE’s 2014 awards. It has also been tested and highly recommended by physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.
“When your spine is stacked upright and supported by the back of your car seat, your muscles can relax and reduce the compression through your joints and discs. SHOFT stops you sliding down the seat, making a healthy position much easier to maintain – so if your back pain is caused by compression, you are likely to benefit from using a SHOFT.”
Nell Mead, award-winning physiotherapist and clinical director, Victory Health & Performance
A SHOFT pack (2 SHOFTs) costs just GBP24.99.
More facts about backache
• It’s the leading global cause of disability according to the World Health Organization and is higher in western countries where we spend hours sitting down (8).
• Back pain costs the UK economy GBP37 million per day (9).
• Nearly two-thirds of drivers claimed that their daily commute leaves them with neck, back or muscle pain in a 2014 Bupa survey (10).
• Sitting puts 50% more pressure on your lower back than standing (11).
• For more on healthier and safer driving, download HELP! My Car Is Killing Me – Top Tips For A Healthier Drive by SHOFT co-inventor Dr Graham Cox and top London physiotherapist Nell Mead (GBP4.99; Amazon.co.uk)