With the countdown to Christmas in full swing, more and more drivers will face heavy traffic as they head to the shops or travel to visit relatives or friends. As a leading London osteopath, I regularly treat patients who are suffering from back and neck pain as a result of being in road traffic accidents. And quite often, whiplash is a major culprit.

Whiplash can occur following vigorous movement of the head that overstretches and damages the ligaments and tendons in the neck. Symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, reduced neck movements, muscle tenderness and headaches. In some cases, symptoms can become chronic; leading to anxiety and depression.

So what can you do to prevent the risk of whiplash injuries when you’re on the road this Christmas? My advice, as a reputable London osteopath, is as follows:

1: Adjust your seat appropriately

Make sure your car seat has less than a 20 degree incline angle. This will help to keep you in your seat should you be involved in a rear end collision.

2: Adjust the height of your head restraint

The top of your head restraint should be level with or above the top of your head. A good way to measure this is to place your hand on the top of your head and adjust the head restraint so that it touches your hand.

3: Position your head restraint close to your head

Adjust your head restraint so that it is about 5cm (2 inches) from the back of your head. The closer your head restraint is to your head, the less distance there will be for your head to build up speed and load the neck during a collision.

Small adjustments can make big differences when it comes to road safety this Christmas.

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