Review: The CG Lock

Some of the staff at Back in Action have been using the CG lock now for several months. We know as a specialist back care centre that car seats are notoriously bad for you and do not fulfil the requirements necessary to enable the user to sit in a good postural position. Our work here is to ensure we get the best products to customers with regards to not only their spinal health, but their general health and well slouching position

Speaking as someone who has lower lumbar issues myself and is a practitioner treating such issues on a regular basis; I found that using the CG lock does help to stabilise the hips whilst cornering; so preventing me from distorting the spine and causing referred pain when driving. This could prove very beneficial to sufferers like myself, of lower lumbar scoliosis as you are prevented from twisting the vertebra and compressing the intervertebral discs. This would also benefit people with lower SI issues, prolapsed discs, pelvic issues etc.

I have been trialling it with a seat wedge in place on the seat to raise my hips as long term this is the best solution to preventing lower back pain and improving core stability, by allowing the natural lumbar lordosis to remain in place and stimulating use of rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus muscles (core muscles).

Obviously in normal circumstances for optimum back health you need to keep things moving. So initially the concept of stopping movement as with the CG lock, seemed unorthodox to me. However we are talking about sitting in a car seat – which automatically means you, will be sitting with your hips lower than your knees a negative from an ergonomic perspective. So it is uncertain if the CG lock is not enhancing the lock down of the hips in an already bad position.

Slouching behind the wheel on frequent trips or for long periods can be disastrous for the spine and is one of the central causes of bad backs in later life. Motorists are more likely to adopt a poor posture because of not properly adjusting their seat, causing long term stress to the joints and muscles in the lower area of the spine.

"Fit to Sit - Fit to Live" by Nigel Rose, Physiotherapist

What I found was that the CG lock keeps your hips snuggly back into the car seat so helping to prevent slouching. By holding you firm against the back rest you gain support from the lumbar padding in the car seat and are less likely to slide forward in your seat on braking, so lessening the posterior pelvic tilt which can cause pressure to the front edge of the intervertebral disc and gaping of the vertebra.

bad seatingThis also means that "lofting" (when the driver/passenger lifts out of the seat over rough terrain and then lands on the seat in a downwards motion, where the seat has already resettled sooner than it's occupant – not dissimilar to trotting on a horse if you get the timing wrong!) is limited – so there is less pressure on the intervertebral discs and the vertebrae themselves, therefore less likelihood of adding to any stress/compression fractures in the spine itself.

Long term for people with prolapses or lower spinal injury this could really benefit their rehabilitation or at the very least prevent further damage to the spinal ligaments. The vibrations up through the spine also, are lessened significantly using the CG lock. From the information the back care association advertises with regard to vibrations having adverse affects on spinal health as seen below means that using a CG lock could alleviate overload and therefore help those that have to, by the nature of their job drive more than is usually thought healthy.

Why do we get back pain whilst driving?

"It is thought that there are three reasons for back pain whilst driving: vibration from the engine (something we drivers cannot change), our sitting position, and the length of time we spend in our cars. Laboratories have studied the effects of 'whole-body vibration' from sitting in a car seat. The lumbar spine naturally resonates at a frequency of 4-5 Hertz, and results show that this natural frequency can be distorted whilst driving a vehicle. This distortion can lead to higher spinal loadings (compression) in the lower back, which in turn could result in low back discomfort and an increased risk of injury. The only way that we can prevent vibration from having an adverse effect on our low backs is simply to drive less, or at least to drive for shorter periods at a time."

The Back Pain Association (Back Care website), Gavin Burt DO

One of our senior partners here at Back in Action started using it straight away and then took a break after he experienced some discomfort but having gone back to using it here is what he says; "Having got back to using it I do like the way it holds one in the seat. It does stop you sliding forward and I can see how it keeps the driver stable on fast cornering. All very good. Unfortunately it did not stop my back pain and I still have to use a wedge but it could work well for other people."

"The fact that you can't remove it quickly may be a problem as my wife, found it awkward to use and refused to drive the car with it in! On the whole I think it could work well and is worth considering as a product for BIA"

Grant Healey, Back in Action, Senior Partner

"It is important to remember that the human spine is ideally equipped for walking, and not for sitting for long periods of time. Overall good posture at all times whilst driving can help considerably in reducing the likelihood of a bad back."

Dr Tony Lavelle, GP & Disability Analyst

"Motorists who slouch whilst driving are likely to end up having long term spinal complaints in later life."

Edmund King, Executive Director, RAC Foundation

Extracts courtesy of the RAC Foundation

Emma Field, APNT, ITEC, RSHom

Physical & Natural Therapist, Ergonomics Specialist