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  #1  
Old 09-11-2004, 11:59 AM
NP2004 NP2004 is offline
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Mein Auto: 08 X5 4.8i / 04 330ci
Back Pain

Anyone else have a hell of a time getting comfy in a 3 series coupe with the lumbar support when driving? My lower back is aching after I drive and only when I drive my BMW it feels like I got sucker punched in my lowerback right above my tailbone. Ive tried reading the manual and have tried adjusting the lower back adjustments and doesnt seem to fix the problem any other suggestions? My upper back is nice and comfy in the seats just my lower back above the tailbone is the problem.
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2004, 10:11 AM
Spngd Spngd is offline
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Probably your disc/annular fibers inflamed...

The sitting position places stress on the disc and specifically the annular fibers. Try a more upright position with increased lumbar support. Bending, lifting and twisting may produce a similar pain.
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2004, 10:38 AM
AF AF is offline
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I had some back pain when I initally got my RX8 and was going to have the seat re-upholstered but decided to give it time to see if I got used to it.

Tell me this sounds crazy but depending on the car and your driving position, everything changes when you purchase a new car. The way my whole bodsy and arms were positioned in my old 330i was different then the way I was positioned in the RX8 and I believe the pain has a lot to do with the muscles in the body being in a different position. After time I beleive a person will get used to the newer position and the pain will no longer appear unless some physical object is causing that pain but the 330 seats are well padded and I don't recall any 'seat problems'.

I don't know if I explained this clearly but it is kind of like when you walk up a hill and all of a sudden the next day your leg muscles hurt because you don't normally use the muscles you needed to use to get up that hill.

Also one other thing, a seat 'breaks in' to your body so after time you might find the seat will become more comfortable .... best of luck !!
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  #4  
Old 09-14-2004, 10:57 AM
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Salvator Salvator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AF-RX8
ITell me this sounds crazy but depending on the car and your driving position, everything changes when you purchase a new car.
Same problem here... When I first got my 325Ci, after a short time (like a week) I had such abdominal pains I went to see the doctor... They found nothing wrong (had sonograms and everything ) so I kept going and soon enough everything was fine... Now my seats seem very comfortable... Go figure!
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2004, 09:06 AM
NP2004 NP2004 is offline
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Yeah hopefully the back pain will go away cause this is the first new car I have noticed back pain in while driving and also some passengers have complained about it while sitting in my car. I just wonder if I should have not gotten the lumbar support on my seats because I think this is the reason im getting back pain. If the back pain doesnt go away anyone have other suggestions? Other than that I can't say enough good things about my 330ci except im racking up miles on her pretty quickly and before I know it its gonna be her first service appointment!
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2004, 09:20 AM
kd2789mo kd2789mo is offline
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Both my wife and I experienced the same problem with both the 5 and the 7. The 7 even has that extra motion lumbar relaxer. Both cars have 20 way adjustments. Turns out it was either just us getting used to the seats, or the seats breaking in. 2000 miles later, comfy as it gets!
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2004, 10:22 AM
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Salvator Salvator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd2789mo
Both my wife and I experienced the same problem with both the 5 and the 7. The 7 even has that extra motion lumbar relaxer. Both cars have 20 way adjustments. Turns out it was either just us getting used to the seats, or the seats breaking in. 2000 miles later, comfy as it gets!
I think its a "need to get used to them" thing, as I bought my car with 9K miles on it, so the seat should have been broken in by the previous owner... I remember when I had my problem, telling the doctor that I had just got a new (to me ) car, and that I hoped it wasn't the problem!
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2004, 10:29 AM
king of trolls king of trolls is offline
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2004, 09:33 AM
Bob325 Bob325 is offline
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The ideal sitting position to avoid back pain is upright with your upper leg parallel wth the ground, as in a desk chair. Lumbar supports help but the ideal position varies according to your particular lumbar curvature The worst driving position, for most, would be in an old Triumph TR3- with legs outstreached--owwwww--.
Every person's back is different and seems to have different postural requirements so this is only a general rule. You should go to a good chiropractor and see if this treatment helps within a month or two at the most (if the pain is chronic). Often, you will be plesantly surprised.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2004, 10:43 AM
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gojira-san gojira-san is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NP2004
Anyone else have a hell of a time getting comfy in a 3 series coupe with the lumbar support when driving? My lower back is aching after I drive and only when I drive my BMW it feels like I got sucker punched in my lowerback right above my tailbone.
I have a sedan with the sport seats and I've been comfortable in it. I've done a few long trips where I have put 6 hours at a stretch in behind the wheel with no problems. I do have the problem you describe when I drive my truck long distances... I can't get the seat placed right!
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  #11  
Old 09-18-2004, 08:00 PM
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cantona7 cantona7 is offline
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I have the opposite experience. My lower back has been troubling me the last 3 years and, like clockwork, I seem to have a particularly bad episode every summer. This year it was muscle spasms and I'm finally in therapy to work out some of the kinks. As it turns out, my car is the one place where I have absolutely ZERO problems. In fact, if I'm having a bad day with stiffness in my back, it's pretty much gone by the time I get home--about 45 minutes of seat time in the car.
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2004, 11:23 PM
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MarcusSDCA MarcusSDCA is offline
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As mentioned above...everyone's back is different...so just play with the adjustments until you find a position that works. In my old 330 sport I tried raising the seat UP as high as it would go..then I made sure the front of the seat (closest to my knees) was also UP as high as it could go. The best way to describe it is like tilting yourself back in a rocking chair. (God this makes me sound old). Gravity will keep your butt and back planted against the seat....well..it did for me...and no back pain after 3 years/34K miles. And that was without a lumbar option.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2004, 03:34 AM
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The biggest reason I have seen is the lack of thigh support. I found the M3 seats tobe a pain until I tilted the front up to better support my thighs. Now, no problems.

The human body (especially male human body) is not deisgned to sit, and especially not on the butt alone. Thigh support removes the pressure directly on the lower spine.

With lumber support you may also be inflating it too far. It is supposed to support, not push your back out to far.

Overall, play with the settings, but look at more thigh support and maybe a little less lumber. Upright seating position is better also (both of ergonomic reaons as well as better car control).
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2004, 07:58 AM
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gordo325xiwagon gordo325xiwagon is offline
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I just installed a lumber pad inside my E46 seat

After reading all the posts, I decided to add an inflatalbe lumbar support pad [pillow] inside the seat itself. Terry Kennedy, Robg, Kaz and couple of others helped me with their writeups and install tips.

I bought a smaller sized pad: About 10"x7"x2.5" in dimension. It comes with an inflating bulb and valve. Cost $30.

After reading the different retrofits and installs, I pulled out the driver's seat. It is much easier to do it this way, as opposed to working on the seat inside the car. The work can be done inside the car, but for the first time, I recommend removing the seat in order to obtain better access.

The back panel slides down and off out pretty easily...At first I had a problem, but once you see that there are four plugs holding the back panel onto the frame. Two sets of of two each plug retainers: Two each on the bottom edge of the seat back assy (these are easy to see) ...and two each on the outside edge of the fiberglass seat panel. These are 'hidden behind the seat covering material. This covering has to be peeled back by pulling it out of the 'groove' in the panel itself.

The rest of the install was easily...But BEWARE.. as EVERYONE has warned before: the seat back frame edges are RAZOR sharp; and they will cut your hands and fingers as you slide the lumbar pad between the frame and the back of the foam cushioning. (In my case, I have heated seats, so the pad was placed between this heating element and the seat back frame)

The lumbar pad was installed very low in the seat back cushion. You can feel it centered on the lower panel of the seat back, centered about four inches from the bottom cushion. There is not very much frame-support here, so I added a couple of inches of high density foam to fill the gap between the lumbar pad and the fiberglass seat back panel.

I actually did this fit twice. The first attempt put the lumbar pad too high and it had too much padding. On the second fit, I lowered the pad and used less foam padding.

The inflatable bulb tube was routed out through the metal frame through a hole in the frame where my seat heater wires run. It has rounded edges and is meant as a pass through. The tube was routed out along the left side of the seat covering folds (near the fasteners) and the bulb rests right next to the seat mechanical controls.

The fit is good; and without any air in the pad, it is just short of a perfect fit. The bulb inflates the pad to different levels fit, from providing a very light to rather heavy pressure on the L4/L5 Vertibrae area.

So far I am satified. Gordo
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Last edited by gordo325xiwagon; 09-21-2004 at 08:28 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2004, 12:13 PM
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James James is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NP2004
Anyone else have a hell of a time getting comfy in a 3 series coupe with the lumbar support when driving? My lower back is aching after I drive and only when I drive my BMW it feels like I got sucker punched in my lowerback right above my tailbone. Ive tried reading the manual and have tried adjusting the lower back adjustments and doesnt seem to fix the problem any other suggestions? My upper back is nice and comfy in the seats just my lower back above the tailbone is the problem.
I actually complained to the dealer (and anyone else that would listen) about the seats in my 330Ci (sport seats). I swore that they were broken and was hoping they'd replace them. They even felt extra "warm" like the seat heater was stuck on. I decided to tough it out and now a few months later I find them very comfortable. I must have adjusted the seats a million different times and I used all three memory buttons on the side to store each setting that I found comfortable. I had my "aggressive driving" and "long haul" set to buttons one and two. Now I have it set the "aggressive driving" position (more upright) and that is quite comfortable. I think my body just had to change itself from the Japanese car I came from . YMMV.

James.
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2004, 04:18 PM
kurichan kurichan is offline
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I've never found a car seat that doesn't make me sore somewhere. I suspect the problem might simply be that the human body is not meant to sit in the same position for a long time. No seat can change that.

So I have two settings; both comfortable, and completely different, set as #1 and #2. When I drive between San Diego and LA, I switch between them now and then. It seems to help.

It also helps me justify having an otherwise essentially useless feature on my car!
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2004, 05:30 PM
kd2789mo kd2789mo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurichan
So I have two settings; both comfortable, and completely different, set as #1 and #2.
Many years ago, I worked with a guy who used two pairs of shoes, everyday. After lunch, he'd switch shoes, so he'd have comfortable feet all day. He swore by it
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  #18  
Old 09-20-2004, 09:39 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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gordo -

which pad did you end up buying?
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  #19  
Old 09-21-2004, 08:23 AM
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gordo325xiwagon gordo325xiwagon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
gordo -

which pad did you end up buying?
Hi Robg: I used a Chrio-Flow adj lumbar support. Its a universal product, not specific to car seats. Here is their website:

http://www.wisdomandhealth.com/chinlusu.html

It was only $20; and I purchased it because I wanted something to experiment with. As it turned out; the size and design appears to be just about right for my application.

It was much easier to slip between the seat back frame and the seat cushion than most of the other brands, which are much larger in overall dimension. (Although, the frame still cut me up good! Next time work gloves.)

So far the lumbar support it offers has been the right pressure in the right spot between the L 4 and L5 vertibrae. But as youl know, only a five hour road trip will define the true fix on this matter. Thanks again for your help. gordo
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  #20  
Old 09-21-2004, 11:31 AM
kurichan kurichan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordo325xiwagon
Hi Robg: I used a Chrio-Flow adj lumbar support. Its a universal product, not specific to car seats.

...

It was much easier to slip between the seat back frame and the seat cushion than most of the other brands, which are much larger in overall dimension. (Although, the frame still cut me up good! Next time work gloves.)
This looks like a GREAT product. It comes in two different fabric colors which makes me wonder if it's not designed to be fixed to the OUTSIDE of the seat. Does it come with straps to accomplish this? How does the unit look in terms of quality? Is it sort of cheezy, or decent?
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  #21  
Old 09-21-2004, 07:20 PM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantona7
I have the opposite experience. My lower back has been troubling me the last 3 years and, like clockwork, I seem to have a particularly bad episode every summer. This year it was muscle spasms and I'm finally in therapy to work out some of the kinks. As it turns out, my car is the one place where I have absolutely ZERO problems. In fact, if I'm having a bad day with stiffness in my back, it's pretty much gone by the time I get home--about 45 minutes of seat time in the car.
I have to add another positive comment about the sport seats in my 330ci. I travel a lot for work, and therefore drive a large variety of cars. Most of them have seats the bother my back or legs after a half-hour. Even my personal pickup truck bothers me after an hour. Before I ordered my 330Ci, I spent almost an hour sitting in a sport-seat equipped 330, testing positions and coming away impressed.

After picking my car up in Munich, I drove 1700 miles in 8 days (including 3 days parked in Rome) and only adjusted the seat in the first 50 miles until I was completely satisfied. The most comfortable seat I've sat in.

Some advice: Make sure the thighs are supported (pulled out the thigh support and raised seat front a bit relative to the rear) and sit upright as possible. Lumbar support should not feel like a fist in your back either. Finally, try sitting a little closer to the steering wheel as it takes some pressure off the shoulders.

Your mileage may vary...
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  #22  
Old 09-21-2004, 08:57 PM
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gordo325xiwagon gordo325xiwagon is offline
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I originally used the pad on the outside of the seat. It has straps, one of which is elastic, and a clip fastener. The pad has an automotive quality fabric finish and overall its use as an exterior cushion on the seat back was acceptable In terms of appearance.

However, it does not fit the seat back properly. The pad kept slipping to the seat bottom cushion. Every time I entered the the car, it was necessary to readjust the cushion to fit the lower portion of the back. It slipped because of the design of the seat side bolsters, which grow wider as they rise from the seat back cushiion bottoms. The straps on the pad kept slipping downward, forcing the cushion to lay at an awkward angle; neither flat against the seat back, nor bottom.

The internal installation was not that difficult and I would advise that you research on how to undertake same. Be advised, that the fit of the pad on the outside of the seat, was not the same as the fit of the pad after it was inserted into the seat. It is close, but not the same.

Hope this helps. gordo
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Last edited by gordo325xiwagon; 09-22-2004 at 04:59 AM. Reason: The pad works and looks better installed inside the seat.
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  #23  
Old 09-21-2004, 11:02 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwsqbm
Some advice: Make sure the thighs are supported (pulled out the thigh support and raised seat front a bit relative to the rear) and sit upright as possible. Lumbar support should not feel like a fist in your back either. Finally, try sitting a little closer to the steering wheel as it takes some pressure off the shoulders.

Your mileage may vary...
Similar to my advice. And I agree many people sit too far from the wheel and too laid back. Upright and closer is better.

To set seat distance, your arm extended, but not stretched, with back firmly against the seak back, should hit the wheel at your wrist at the top of the wheel. MUCH closer than most people sit.

I have done several 600+ mile runs in our M3 and am ready to do more. And I have lower back problems for a accident many years ago.
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  #24  
Old 10-12-2004, 09:57 PM
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Jon Shafer Jon Shafer is offline
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Anyone from the board ever have the diagnosis of L5 S1 disc protrusion?

If so, treatment outcomes??

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  #25  
Old 10-12-2004, 11:17 PM
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Cowboy Bebop Cowboy Bebop is offline
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this has been a problem for me for years now... I just can't get the seat Vertical enough to make my back happy.
Some old cars were OK, but I guess due to the desire to look cool, laid back ,or gangsta, they are making seats not which do not go as upright as they once did.
Increasing the pillow adds perssure on the lower spine which makes it more painful for me.

I have gotton used to it now, but it is not the most comfortable seat I have ever sat in.

BTW, the seam in the seat bottom falls in an awkward place for me and is also nasty!
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