How comfortable is your commute to Work?

Thousands of us commute each week, whether by tube, train, car, bus or bike. The daily commute can not only be an undesired source of stress but can also take its toll on our bodies. The average commute time in London is 75 minutes (according to a TUC study), there is no wonder our physical health is suffering. BUPA have also carried out a study, which revealed that 19% of British workers say that their daily commute is leaving them with neck, back and muscle pain.

Many people who visit KH Chiropractic Liverpool Street commute from the outskirts of London in the hope to provide a better quality of life for their expanding families. Unfortunately this choice often leads to prolonged static postures during excessive commute, causing pain travelling and limiting time available to exercise regularly.

According to research by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), almost a third of the working nation relies on public transport which produces another source of stress. They found 50% of people fought for a seats, rarely getting to sit down. The BCA (British Chiropractic Association) state:-

  • One in ten commuters don’t sit down at all

  • One in three commuters (32%) are currently suffering from back pain

The combination of stress, poor comfort and poor travel conditions contribute to a potential ‘postural nightmare’, with people frequently experiencing pain travelling. A huge proportion of London based jobs encourage a sedentary lifestyle, therefore standing (as long as comfortable) can be a good option during your commute.

Here are a few key points to remember when commuting.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold onto a rail comfortably to avoid over stretching.

  • If you sit, try to relax, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back and your shoulder blades touching the back of the chair.

  • Avoid stiffening by moving regularly such as – shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles.

  • Moving regularly also improves muscle tone, circulation and posture.

  • If you are working on a laptop don’t sit for prolonged periods looking down at it. Try to position it on a table. Please see my article on Desk Setup for more information on how to sit correctly.

Although some of these will be difficult, such as the availability of a table during your commute you must remember you are choosing to put your body in a poor posture. This may make you more susceptible to injury and pain travelling.

What you should avoid during your commute:-

  • Looking down at your phone, paper, laptop etc – This can put unnecessary stress on your neck joints and muscles which can lead to headaches and neck pain.

  • Slouching – Poor posture can lead to muscle imbalance and poorly functioning joints.

  • Falling asleep allowing your head to bob about – prevents you keeping a good neutral spine and exposes your neck to unnecessary strain.

  • Carrying a heavy bag – If you can’t reduce the weight in your bag remove it when possible resting it on the floor to take the strain off your back and shoulders. Also try to use a backpack rather than a shoulder bag.

If you start experiencing pain traveling or commuting, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional as soon as you can. Usually newer injuries respond much quicker than ones that have been present for months, or even years. To find out more about pain you are experiencing please call KH Chiropractic & Sports Massage to book your free chiropractic consultation in Liverpool Street / Aldgate call 0203 633 0565 or email