Many people have to sit for long periods of time to travel, whether its by car, train or plane. To be aware of your sitting posture can make the world of difference to being pain-free at your destination.
The crucial point to think about is to be able to sit on TOP of the sitting bones of your pelvis, and not to roll behind them. The vast majority of seats are not designed with this in mind and it is very difficult to sit correctly. A good supply of wedges are essential for a long journey to enable you to sit on top of the sitting bones. If you place your hands underneath your bottom whilst sitting, you can feel the bones with which you need to sit up on. Once sitting correctly, you should not need a back rest, as your spine is designed to be comfortably upright above your pelvis. If you rely on a backrest, then the chances are that you are not sitting correctly to begin with. Your knees need to be slightly below your hip level, and your feet on the ground.
I often take a small hard cushion with me when travelling, and also find a coat is very useful to ball up and stick between my lower back and the seat upright, even if just sitting down at the cinema.
The second point to think about is to keep the chin tucked in, which is especially an issue if you are driving. It is an easy tendency to stick the chin forward, to display a ‘forward head posture’ which in turn compresses the back of the neck. With the chin tucked in, the back of the neck stays nice and long, and this way can avoid associated shoulder pain.
If you already have existing back/neck/shoulder pain, don’t despair! This can be addressed with some deep tissue massage to set you on your way and with a bit of postural knowledge, future pain from this can be avoided.