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In the driver's seat

Alaflo
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In the driver's seat
The driver's seat in my car is formed of one piece. Consequently, the headrest is not adjustable and it tilts forward. I have not been able to figure out a way to do stretchsitting, so instead I have put a bone pillow behind me just beneath my shoulder blades and am stacksitting.  Is this an acceptable alternative?  I am only concerned because, should I have an accident, the airbag might be a problem.
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This is not safe!!!

It's true that some car headrests force your head forward very unnaturally. The shape of the headrest reflects the average neck distortion in our society. It also perpetuates it. If this is not your neck shape (and you don't want it to be!) you are stuck in a very uncomfortable position.

The solution is to place a firm backrest at the level of your mid-back and use it to stretchsit (not stacksit). You could use a folded towel, blanket, or Stretchsit cushion (http://www.egwellness.com/stretchsit-cushion). Soft foam or a pillow won't work - it doesn't hold you, but rather lets you down.

A good support can do four things for you:

1. Stretch your spine as you drive (this is the most important function since most of us have compressed spines and the vibrations of the car further the compression problem.)
2. Draw you away from a forward- jutting headrest so that your head settles comfortably against the headrest. You need to be sure your head is touching the headrest, or you are not being safe.
3. If your car seat doesn't have adequate room for your behind to be behind you, the extra cushion can help make more room. This problem is rarer except in bucket type car seats.
4. Draw you away from the generally poor contour around the shoulder region - allowing you to do a shoulder roll and settle your shoulders in a healthier and more comfortable position further back.

Alaflo
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Thanks for your quick reply, and yes, I can understand the safety issue since my head is not braced if I stacksit.  I am considering use of your Stretchsitting Cushion.  But in the photos in the book, there is a separate head piece on the car seat that allows the cushion to be hung around it.  Since my car seat is all in one with the head area, will this work? Or how could I make adjustments?
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The back of the cushion has corduroy and holds pretty well against a fabric seat. Otherwise, you could tie the loop of the cushion down on something behind the car seat or use strong packing tape. We are in the process of creating a universal hook but this will take time. Tape is not the most elegant solution, but it works.
Royceann
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It would be helpful to see a picture of the stretchsit cushion in a car.  I'm unclear of where to place it.
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See fig. 1-16b on page 50 or fig. 1-18c on page 51 in 8 Steps. The hangtag on the cushion also has instructions and an illustration showing where it goes. It goes below the shoulder blades but above the small of the back. You're not trying to encourage a lumbar sway but rather elongate and flatten the curve in the upper lumbar area (small of the back).
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Hi Esther - When I use the stretchsit cushion in my car, the stretch part feels good - but I feel too pushed forward from the cushion and then need to tilt my seat back to feel comfortable.  If I do that, my head is nowhere near the head rest, which I read in one of your posts isn't safe.  So I have replaced the stretchsit cushion with a towel stuffed through the headrest as shown in your book.  This is better than nothing but doesn't give a lot of traction.  My car seats are not leather but some kind of leather-like imitation, smooth material.  I already had the stretchsit cushion hanging down as far as the strap would allow.  Do you have any other suggestions?  Since I spend so much time in my car, I would like to make it optimal for stretchsitting.  Thanks!
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I'm pretty sure you need to place the Stretchsit cushion lower down. I happen to remember the curves in your back and I think you have it placed right behind the high point of your thoracic kyphosis (the outward curve in your thoracic spine that complements the inward curve of your lumbar spine.) The Stretchsit cushion is quite thin, but at the high point of your thoracic curve any thickness is probably more than you want. Don't worry about the cushion going somewhat into your lumbar curve - the key thing is to get some part of your back hooked to the cushion to give you the upward lift your body likes and needs.

We are working on an extension strap because a couple of people have reported that they would like that. In the meantime, you can use a piece of rope to extend its length or just use the cushion placed behind you without using the strap (many people carry their Stretchsit cushion around with them from chair to chair not using the strap at all.)
mrldg
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I drive a lot for work, and have the Stretchsit cushion, love it.  However, my problem is that when using even a small wedge to sit on, and then stretchsitting, I'm simply too tall in either my old Subaru or my work-Prius to see well through the windshield.    I'll try a smaller wedge, which is what keeps my hip/sacral pain away I think, and, if I ever get a new car, will be careful to test it out first. Otherwise, I do the best I can.  In a lot of rain/fog, I have to remove the wedge and crunch my spine.   
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If you're Stretchsitting I recommend not using a wedge. Since your spine is stretched it isn't critical that L5-S1 be just so (it fits fine in a tall space no matter what shape) and if you use too much of a wedge there is a danger that you have used up all of your L5-S1 flexibility and will then sway your back as you lean backwards to contact the backrest.

Glad to hear the Stretchsit cushion is working well for you. We are hearing a lot of positive responses and are glad our two years of tweaking it has a good result in the end!
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A general note here: Increasingly, people are reporting using the Stretchsit cushion without attaching it anywhere. This seems to work very well. It also makes it easy to transport from chair to chair. Just stick it behind your mid-back and you're good.

I'm on tour teaching around the country and I can't tell you how glad I am to have my Stretchsit cushion along with me, both for the airplane seats and the rental car seats. Going to Boulder (Denver) I forgot to remove it from my luggage to carry it on board with me and I was miserable in a very badly designed Frontier airline seat. Coming back was heaven with the Stretchsit cushion. Many people are reporting similar experiences. Here's an example:

Esther,
You asked for an update on the sciatica on my trip home from this weekend's class in Boulder.  After Pam & I left class, we were visiting with her cousin, who took us on a 2+ hour car ride.  I sat in the back seat.  Prior to attending your workshop, I would have been in pain within 20 minutes, but by using the techniques I learned, I was able to ride for the entire time without pain.  The airplane ride home was the same - a few twinges on the outskits, but basically pain free.  I have been working with a physical therapist for a torn cartlidge in my knee and even that seemed to show improvement over the weekend.  When I saw the physical therapist this morning and told him about the workshop and it's basic principles, he was impressed and believes that the reduction in pain in my knee may also have something to do with what I learned.  He is also interested in learning about the program, so I'm forwarding your information to him.
greendragonfly
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One thing that's always bothered me about car headrests is the way they bumped on the back of my head as I drove. Since I was trying to keep my chin tilted up this was annoying. It turns out that with my Stretchsit cushion installed, when I'm in good form the back of my skull just rests on the headrest. The headrest now supports my correct posture. Amazing!
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Here's an interesting note from a talk I gave recently at Johnson's Controls in Ann Arbor (they make most of the car interiors in existence). The audience of 25 engineers included their ergonomics specialist. Every time I registered a complaint about some aspect of modern car seats, they would all look over at the ergonomics guy. At some point he stood up declaring that they are required by law to fit their designs to a certain mannequin who has (surprise!) his neck stuck forward. Head rests are no longer called head rests - they are now called head restraints. It's about reducing whiplash injuries and their design is written into the law.

The engineers got the point but the law prevents them from creating more posturally-advantageous headrests. They are thinking about a more sophisticated solution but this is a difficult time to add expense in manufacture in the car industry.

It's a sad thing when our norms get so skewed they cause damage. Our heads are forward so we have headrests that support our heads stuck forward which perpetuate the problem of our heads being stuck forward.

The ergonomics guy liked my Stretchsit cushion. He concluded "That's why there are so many add-ons out there."
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