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Old 12-05-2015, 02:10 AM   #1
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Could my Boxster be bad for my health?

Last weekend I threw my back out. Badly.
I've been nearly bedridden for a week, had several days of therapy in the hospital, and now able to walk with the help of a cane. I hope to be back to normal in another week or two.
This is not new. I have mild scoliosis that the doctors never caught when I was younger until my first big back blowout at age 40. The scoliosis has caused excessive muscle strain in the lower back and when I overtax them by too much lifting and overextending, the strained muscles contract and irritate the sciatic nerve.
I'm changing many things about my daily life to help assure that it doesn't happen again. More ergonomic desk chair, taller desk, stretching excersizes every morning and aerobic excersizes four nights a week. Longer, hotter showers (steam is a great help), better mattress, and orthodic cusions in the car.

Speaking of the car..... Unfortunately it's a change I have to consider. I drive 3,500+ miles per month with my job and climb in and out of the car at least a dozen times a day. The Boxster is a bit of a strain to get into and out of, especially when your mobility is suddenly limited. Could it be contributing to my back strain?
The doctor seemed unusually optimistic about the car when asked. A good lumbar support and proper excersize, etc, should make the car okay.

Nonetheless, I've been looking at some larger sedans with bigger seats just out of curiosity. I could just start driving my Jeep every day but you have to climb up into it, the seats are crap with no support at all, and the ride beats the spine to death.
The problem is, the Boxster helps make work so much fun, and is often a conversation piece with clients. I hate to give that up, so I'm looking at affordable but somewhat exotic used sedans in the age range of the 986. I know maintenance will be an issue, but the 986 is no slouch when it comes to hitting you with maintenance costs, so I'm used to that.
Some things I've been looking at:

I'm not an SUV fan at all, but alternate choices:

Sorry for the long story, but I value your suggestions and opinions.
Honestly, I've been a Porsche fan since childhood and would like to keep things as they are, but I do have to take this into consideration under the circumstances.
Thank you for checking it out.

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Old 12-05-2015, 03:05 AM   #2
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If the Panamera was in price range...
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:56 AM   #3
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LOL, that did cross my mind, but just not old enough yet.

I'd even thought about this as an alternative:
Selling the Boxsters, getting an average sedan and.....

This was my childhood dream car and would make a great weekender, but of course the Boxsters are still much more balanced and refined.... And my daily commute would still be achingly boring in the basic sedan.
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:23 AM   #4
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I've had some work done on my back... Titanium and Lego pieces inside. It's one of the reasons I found it easy to part with my SLK, I rarely drove it after my back issues, it just wasn't comfortable. Like when Clarkson sat on that pile of rocks and said yeah like this. I can easily do 4 hours in my older Boxster, way more comfortable better driving position.

Anyway if you can find one try a classic SAAB 900, 9000 Aero or 95 Aero. The Swedes know how to make comfortable cars. Aeros are stupid fast too, fun to drive. Older well care fored SAABs are still a good conversation starter and the 95s and 9000s are really cheap now. I'd say the same about Volvos too, really comfy seats and driving position, just a little too average unless you'd consider an S60 R. May I also suggest the C6 Audi RS6, lol If a V10 Lamborghini derived engine in a sedan doesn't start up a conversation, nothing will.
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:42 AM   #5
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Sorry to hear about your back. I know how that can ruin your day.

I always like to consider as many options as possible before making a major decision, and here's one that I would think about if I was in your situation. Do you have the basic two-way power seats? You may want to consider upgrading to an 8-way or 12-way (even better) power seat. Here's a set on an auction site, but they are available from several sources: Porsche 911 986 996 Carrera Boxster Black Supple Leather Seats Crest Full Power | eBay

The upgraded seats would allow you to raise the seat before you get out of the car. The additional amount of vertical travel might make a difference. The manual height adjuster on the two-way seat is just too cumbersome to use every time you get in and out of the car. Also, the lumbar support in the 12-way seat may make the long rides a little more tolerable. This would be less expensive than buying a new car and would allow you to continue "Boxstering."

Here's information on installation: http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/58080-full-power-seat-installation.html
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:03 AM   #6
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There are also car seat cushion/car back cushion support items available through the orthopedic/chiropractic sources.This would be a first step before addressing the replacement of the actual car seat.

Physical and occupational therapy people are a great source and they have catalogs.

Companies that customize vehicles for disabled drivers are a source.That sounds extreme;but they surely have some seat tricks for folks that only need a small amount of help too.

Good luck!
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:19 AM   #7
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+1 for the Saabs. I had a 900 SE, fun car to drive, and all day comfort.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:48 AM   #8
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A macan might be right up your alley.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:53 AM   #9
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Be careful when you're lying around for a long period of time. 3 yrs ago I caught the flu and laid on the couch for a week. Several wks later began a series of painful back / lung issues that was first diagnosed as bronchitis. Come to find out I actually had blood clots - 1 in ea lung and a 3rd in my left leg. Lots of tests later and 6 mo of rat poison, I have been clot free since and the tests said it wasn't hereditary. Had to be my week of inactivity.

Now to your dilemma... Might I suggest trying a 987? Not much different but maybe just enough. My first Porsche was an 01 Boxster S and there is a difference between a 986 & 987. Something to consider. Or maybe a Jag convertible? Or maybe a Saab convertible. Just trying to keep you in a convertible.

Good luck with your back.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:08 AM   #10
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Macans are still pretty pricey, I think. There are lots of Cayennes around though.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:20 AM   #11
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Try a cayanne s. The exhaust note is to die for.

Almost every car you brought up is a worse nightmare then a boxster for maintance though.

I love the jag but it's very lucky to be found running.

Anyways I wish you the best with your health!

Oh, and take a look at Volvo and saab.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:43 AM   #12
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I feel your pain..... literally. It is a balance between good mental health and physical health. I completely understand driving the Boxster for work makes work so much easier. I bought a 993 cab as a daily driver for an work assignment that was the least desirable of my career. It made work so much enjoyable knowing I was driving the car 28 miles each way. Weird, I know.

I have the 12 way heated seats with lumbar in my Boxster. They treat my back just fine. As KevinH1990 suggested, you may want to track down some seats like mine. If we were closer I'd loan my Boxster for a day or two and see if the seats helped.

Now my 2012 BMW 525I M-Sport has the "Luxury Seat Package" where the front seat cushion continuously moves (kinda massages) to keep your spine in motion and your back’s muscles active. I've done 12 hours drives in that car and my back felt great.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:59 AM   #13
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Give an E55 a look. I owned one and can say that it's very comfortable and brutally fast in a straight line. Gas mileage is about mpg highway so not bad and they can be bought for pennies on the dollar. Downside is that maintenance and pairs can be pricy making the Boxster look reasonable.

Good luck with your back. My wife has scoliosis so I have a decent idea of what you are living with.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:19 AM   #14
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Thank you guys for all the great suggestions!
And I certainly sympathize with all those who know first hand.
I drove for the first time in 7 days today! I didn't realize how badly I was going through Porsche withdrawal, LOL!
Getting in and out took a minute, but it was easier than I thought. Stepping down instead of lifting my legs up over a tall sill helped. Plenty to grab onto. I purchased a memory foam back support that was recommended by the doctor, and although it was bulky and ugly, it does the trick. Driving was perfectly comfortable, although I had to hang on because the cusion is keeping me out of the side bolsters.

I'm going to check with handicap and specialty suppliers to see if there is a lower profile back support.
My concern is with long term, but the measures I'm taking might negate any potential issues with driving this car so much.
I had originally planned on my next driver being a 2009 987, and might still be if I end up sticking with it.
And I agree, that several of the cars I was looking at above are going to likely be more problematic. In particular I've had a Land Rover and an older Jag in the past and literally couldn't keep them on the road. My mechanic put more miles on them than I did.
I will still contemplate a Cayenne and look at the Saabs should it become necessary.
Thank you again! I welcome any more suggestions and advice.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:58 AM   #15
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Glad to hear you are making some progress! It's much easier getting in & out of a Box with the top down, can you park it inside with top down? The sport seats are more supportive in lower lumbar area, but have 1/2" higher side bolsters.
Over the last 15 yrs I have driven a lot of vehicles, you can judge how well the seat fits you by how little you want to move around when it's a good fit. If it's not a good fit you are constantly squirming around trying to improve your position. Best seat I have found for me is a 2013 up Lexus IS, got one for a loaner, sat down & never moved the whole time I drove it, I was amazed. Yoga has made my back better than it was 10yrs ago!

Also reflexology massage does wonders for getting things in line too.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:10 AM   #16
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I have tried a large bolster like that and it was too large for my comfort. I felt crowded, and it pushed me forward enough to make my leg space hard to adjust to. I now have a much smaller, inflatable one that works well for my condition. I over-inflate it, drop it in position, and then let air out until it is just right.
I just looked for it online and found it on Amazon: "Eagle Creek Comfort Lumbar Pillow (Black), but that particular model shows as unavailable.

I usually don't use it in the Boxsters, but most of the time when I fly.

Another thought: During the acute pain times, getting in and out I need support. I have considered installing a grab handle at the top left corner of the A-pillar. For now, I just grab the top of the steering wheel and push up.

Take care.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:21 PM   #17
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The cusion is a bit thick, but I found a thin mesh lumbar support made for car seats and ordered it.
I do have an excersize sheet and reflexology massage has been recommended. I will be starting all of that next week when my back is recovered enough to handle it.
Grabbing that roof and steering help me get in and out.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:01 PM   #18
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Sorry to hear about your back, I fully sympathise with you & hope you get well soon.
I have to agree with some of the other guys on here in recommending an old SAAB, ( 900/ 9000 etc ) I have 1997 9000 & a 2000 93 convertible as my everyday runabouts, I find the 9000 seats and driving position especially comfortable especially on long hauls and it's one of the few cars I can drive all day without causing me backache, there's still a few decent ones to be had today for not big money.

Take care.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:28 PM   #19
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I drove a BMW 745 for a while. Probably my favorite car I have ever had and without a doubt the most comfortable.

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Old 12-05-2015, 09:18 PM   #20
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A 12 way seat sounds like a good idea and if you have not tried a heated seat, you have no idea how nice that is.

Once a little while back I had overstrained my back lifting heavy stuff (moving) and I had forgotten how nice the heated seats can be for those occasions. I didn't want to get out of the car after my 40 minute commute because it felt so nice.

When I did finally get out, my back felt great, the muscles were fully relaxed and I could hardly wait for the commute home again for another nice back heating.

I highly recommend the Boxster heated seat for easing back pain.

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