The Irish ‘staycation’ experience has moved on from the musty one bedroom caravan of the early 80’s, but for some this ‘holistay’ revival will come at a painful cost. With back problems one of the most common side-effects of spending long hours on the road, former Irish International Gordon D’Arcy joined broadcaster Dr. Ciara Kelly and Opel seating specialist Jonas Eisenbraun at the Opel Ireland Art of Sitting Breakfast Briefing in House, Lesson Street, Dublin 2 yesterday (31st May), to discuss the role of healthy sitting in the management and prevention of this common condition.
Pioneers in the development of ergonomic seating systems, German car manufacturers Opel were one of the first automotive brands to secure the Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. (AGR) quality seal of approval – a certification system that was developed by an independent association of experts in Germany to provide reliable decision-making support for customers who were in the market for back-friendly products.
With some common long-distance driving complaints including neck pain, fatigue, leg discomfort, aching shoulders, concentration deficits and even headaches, back pain was also the most commonly reported chronic health condition documented as part of the Irish Health Survey in 2016. Speaking more generally about The Importance of Good Back Health on the day, GP, broadcaster and columnist Dr. Ciara Kelly said: “Back pain is one of the commonest conditions that affects the adult population. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe but particularly low back pain is something many of us will experience. Like most things prevention is better than cure, especially as cure can be elusive and for some management is a more realistic prospect than full resolution.
“Prevention includes weight management, exercises that strengthen and stretch and good posture. Things like how you sit, stand and lie all have a role to play. Sitting, standing and lying – in particular if they are prolonged – can exacerbate back pain, so good posture, ergonomic seating, orthopedic mattresses and changing position regularly are all important in the management and prevention of back pain.”
Former Irish International rugby player and Form School Co. Owner Gordon D’Arcy presented the Role of Pilates in Good Back Health at the event and discussed his own experience of Opel’s award-winning AGR seating systems. “Professional contact sport is a attritional game. You push your body to the limit week in week out, and there’s a level of lasting discomfort you have to expect on the other side. Taking that into account, the driving comfort and support, particularly on those longer journeys, was one of the aspects of the Insignia Sports Tourer that impressed me most.
“Pain at any level can really affect your lifestyle, and a lot of our clients in Form School who suffer with their back in particular, have been referred by physiotherapists who have recommended Reformer Pilates to manage their discomfort – strengthening their core, increasing flexibility and correcting any muscle weaknesses or imbalance. Perhaps surprisingly, things like sitting or indeed driving for long periods can be the root cause of their difficulties, so this issue is certainly not something that’s unique to athletes. How you sit can have just as much of an impact on those muscles as how you move, so anything that’s focused on the everyday prevention of something as debilitating as back pain, like Reformer Pilates or in this case carefully crafted seating systems, is really positive in my opinion.”
Closing the event by addressing the key elements Opel attributes to the Art of Sitting, Jonas Eisenbraun, Opel AGR Seating Specialist commented; “More and more people in Ireland and indeed across Europe are spending increasing amounts of time in their car, and for many drivers their car seat is also their workplace. For that reason Opel’s award winning 18-way adjustable ergonomic wellness seats with adaptable lumbar support, variable seat cushion tilt and extension settings, as well as effortless recline functions and higher quality materials for density and durability have all been specifically designed and more importantly AGR certified, to adapt to the natural curvature of the spine. These pioneering innovations, which also include functions like massage and even adjustable side bolsters, provide both long and short distance travel solutions for drivers of all shapes and sizes who already suffer with chronic back pain, or indeed who are just hoping to prevent these problems in the future.”
For more information on the Opel range of ergonomic back friendly seating, available on all Opel carlines, including the new Grandland X SUV check out www.opel.ie