Any car recommendations : We’re about to replace... - Bone Health

Bone Health

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Any car recommendations

Nuthatch profile image

We’re about to replace our current car, a VW Touran. I have more or less given up driving since my diagnosis because it really exacerbated my back pain. Even as a passenger I need an orthopaedic cushion and it can be painful. I must get back to driving because in normal non Covid times it’s an essential requirement for my job, my husband is often away for his work and the lack of independence is too hard to bear. I had 5 spinal compression fractures at diagnosis and although the pain is a bit less now it’s still always there and I have to be careful not to overdo things. The Touran doesn’t seem to be recommended as a good car for my circumstances. The VW Tiguan seems better but is too expensive. I’d be really interested to hear how others have addressed this situation and whether there are any recommendations.

32 Replies

I can't help you with the car question, but I can quite understand the discomfort you are experiencing. I had two wedge compression fractures in between my shoulder blades T4 & T5 about sixteen years ago and they were bad enough (and I still get awful discomfort from them), but honestly, how you cope with five is beyond me. I really hope you manage to get a car that is going to be all you want. All the best to you. x

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to springcross

Thank you! I think it was a mixed blessing not knowing what was going on (due to hopeless and uninterested gp) so I just kept going which might have helped with strengthening my muscles. Also my fractures are lower - T11 and 12 and L1,2 and 3 which may make a difference. Finding it very hard to come to terms with it though - can do ok for a few days/weeks then be completely overwhelmed. Have lost a lot of height and look an absolute fright so in a way Covid restrictions have helped because I’m working from home. At 64 it’s hard to know I can never do many of the things I enjoyed like fell walking and gardening. Don’t even know if I’ll be able to play sax again. The absolute worst is knowing I can’t play with my fabulous grandson aged 20 months like I used to.

springcross profile image
springcross in reply to Nuthatch

Yes, I lost about four inches in height and have kyphoscoliosis as a result. It drives me mad as it has upset my joints and having osteoporosis means I can't have proper osteopathic treatment any more. Being diagnosed with RA last year hasn't helped either, it's like a double whammy. It really is such a cruel world sometimes isn't it. All the best to you. x


I also have 5 compression fractures I have had kyphoplasty on them all

Not much help with car as we bought a Kia two years ago

I hate it when we go over some of the speed bumps

I found the Volvo cars were comfortable but very pricey

If you don’t mind could I ask if your taking any medication for your fractures

Hope you manage to find a comfortable car

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to Nemone65

Thank you - I’ve recently started Terrosa. Too soon to say if it will help!

Unfortunately the cars with good seating and support are the expensive ones. However, some of the older cars in these makes are excellent buys. Mercedes, Saab’s have great seats along with Volvo’s. The older model cars were made better too and if maintained run well.

I prefer a car with higher seating as easy to get in and out of!

Have you spoken to an occupational therapist - great knowledge on seats!

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to Siamang

Thank you - not sure how I can speak to an OT at the moment as nothing seems to be available here due to Covid!

I can help you! I've had back problems for 32 years. The hardest and most uncomfortable journeys I have suffered have been in German cars, VW, Audi, Mercedes. The softest and most comfortable cars are French. Our last car was a Peugeot 308 which was like driving in an arm chair. Now we have a Renault Captur which is the same but better because the seat is much higher and level with your bottom when you get in. Good luck!

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to

That’s interesting. We used to have Citroens and liked them for comfort but they were always breaking down! We’ve had VWs for ages now. It’s a question of what we can afford. My husband likes the Touran because he can get his blasted bikes in it and apparently that’s more important than me 😂

My own car is a tiny Citroen C2. You sit quite high in it and there is a lot of headroom. When my husband had his hip replacement a couple of years ago it was really easy for him to get in and out of.

His car is a Citroen Picasso C4 and it has the same high seat and is very easy to get in and out of, ours is hatchback not the estate.

Our previous car was a Peugeot which is from the same family and it was good too but had a much lower seat position, it was after using my car with its high driving position we decided to go for what we’ve got now.

I’d say it is quite a firm ride in that you don’t sink into the seats but I’m always comfortable. I’m quite sensitive when it comes to cars seats. The worst car I’ve had for my back was when our car was stolen and I had to hire a car to collect my family from scout camp and drive 500 miles back home was a Vauxhall of some sort. The passenger seat was so uncomfortable I couldn’t get a position that didn’t aggravate my sciatica ended up stretched through from the back seat with my legs between both seats and when my son came home from Australia last year it was a Vauxhall he hired and he had a moan about it.

Have a look at this website and see if you can get any advice from him.

I agree about having a chat with the occupational or physiotherapist.

Thank you - looks like it’s going to take a lot of research which is tricky as husband is champing at the bit to get another Touran because there are such good deals available! Because of lockdown I’ve not been able to see or speak to an OT or physio.

I can imagine, had the same problem with my husband when he bought a camper that I didn’t love. Good luck 😉

Hello Nuthatch

Just a thought look at what sort of car seat suits you with the help of an OT etc. then pay for that seat to be safely fitted into 'your car of choice'; this isn't done as much now but used to be, you may need to go to the sort of garage that adapts cars used by drivers who have physical disabilities.

Good Luck

Posy White

I drive a Kia and it is reasonably comfortable. In any car I sit on a good quality wedge cushion, and I have a very small foam cushion in the small of my back. I had my first compression fractures 15 years ago and at that time NOS recommended a rolled towel at your back but I found that too hard.

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to walk21

I have a cushion for my back which helps a bit but I’m usually sore even just as a passenger. Haven’t tried a wedge cushion. It’s really difficult not being able to see a physio or OT at the moment. Sadly I think we’ll just end up with whatever husband wants as our current deal finishes in a couple of weeks so we’re under pressure to agree a new one. I’m so sick of this condition and the impact on my life.

walk21 profile image
walk21 in reply to Nuthatch

Hope you can find a way to be comfortable. I had a recent fracture and a telephone appointment with a physio. You can imagine that I found that pretty useless. I share your feelings and worry about my future. Hope you can get stronger. I have had 10 years of fulfilling life before this recent fracture.

Thank you. Telephone appointment with physio doesn’t sound great! There’s nothing on offer from the NHS round here - they just closed everything down even cancer treatment and aren’t rushing to start anything up again. I can get a Zoom appointment with the private physio but it’s way too expensive and might not be that helpful anyway.. having 5 fractures already at diagnosis seems to mean a pretty bleak future. So angry with the GP who fobbed me off for 3 months and didn’t even mention OP - I’d heard of it obviously but knew nothing about it at all. It’s a condition that definitely needs more publicity, more research and a lot more support for those of us with it. Really surprised as a welfare rights adviser working in adult social care for over 30 years I’ve not come across a single client with it.

I hope you are getting some medication. If not I recommend you to contact the Royal Osteoporosis Society. They have a lot of information online, and their nurses are wonderfully helpful if you ring the helpline. If your GP is not helpful you need all the facts you can get for yourself. There are good medicines which help to strengthen bones but they act slowly. Exercise and vitamins are needed too.

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to walk21

Thank you - I’m on Terrosa but only started last month. I’ve done loads of research and find the ROS helpful though I wish they’d stop pushing the message that compression fractures don’t hurt!

walk21 profile image
walk21 in reply to Nuthatch

They ought to feel my back now, and that's with umpteen painkillers!

I do sympathise and empathise. I have spondylolisthesis scoliosis and osteoporosis, and I dread anything happening to our 12 year old Volvo V70. It’s now looking as though I’m heading for a diagnosis of nerve compression too - MRI shortly. Hubby tried to downsize when we bought the Volvo all those years ago but, having had two of the same previously, no other car I tried came anywhere near the seat comfort and support of the Volvo. Prior to that we had had a couple of Renaults including the 20 and 25 - like sitting in supportive armchairs. All expensive, yes, but what price comfort! The only other car, and less pricey, that I have found suitable is the passenger seat of my friend’s Ford Focus. Worth a try perhaps?

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to Celtic

Definitely! Thank you x

Check out this website, Nuthatch...lots of different options..good luck!

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to sweetsusie

Thanks - I’m in the UK though

I have been leasing Subarus. The first was an Outback, and many times I wish I'd bought it at the end of my lease. My second has been a Forester, and it has been quite comfortable. I have a 9 vertebrae fusion from scoliosis, as well as severe osteoporosis, so am very watchful as far as back/seat comfort. The Forester has been great, and happens to be one of the best right now as far as efficiency, etc. Mine seems a bit narrow but they have switched Foresters to being almost 6 inches wider now. Next month is my date to turn this one in, so I'll look at Subarus again. They are always friendly and non-pressure at the dealership.

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to Poodles4mom

That’s also good to know, thank you

I do the same as walk21. I find that most car seats are lower at the back than the front, which puts terrible strain on the back unless you're able to recline the seat, hardly appropriate for driving (!) and not much fun as a passenger either! A wedge levels the seat off, making it much more comfortable. I also find it essential to have a cushion in the small of my back and currently use a shaped mesh support that straps to the seat back.

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to Met00

Thank you - I’ll definitely try a wedge cushion in that case especially as it looks as though we’re stuck with just getting the same car again!

'Obus Forme' back supports can be marvellous (varied sizes but average size seems to fit most). The velcro attaching add-on lumbar support often needs a bit of trimming to boost its comfort (should readily open up for precisely that purpose).

For muscular improvement which might boost your back's tolerance of so so car seats, you might consider some stretching routines (I like the 'cat stretch', as well as lying on my back and raising one knee at a time up perhaps ten times, repeating that while on my side).

Nuthatch profile image
Nuthatch in reply to wbiC

I’m doing some of the exercises from the ROS but I can’t lie on my back. I have to be really careful as I already have several fractures.

I'm not sure if you're in the UK like me but after my 5 vertebral fractures I was unable to drive for some time, and our car was uncomfortable for me as a passenger. We searched around and tried lots of different cars, ending up with a Mini Countryman automatic. It's nice and high, so minimum bending required to get in. Both the driver's and passenger seats can be raised - good for driving because of my reduced height and also easier for getting in. I highly recommend it!

Thank you - that sounds good. We had to make a quick decision to get the good deal on offer so we’ve gone for the VW Tiguan and I’ll try a wedge cushion and maybe a heated seat cover! How long did it take you to be able to drive again? I’d had awful back pain for about 4 months before I had the x ray which revealed the fractures (thanks GP 🙄) so no idea how or when they happened. It’s improved a bit but still gets very painful especially with standing.

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