Many truck drivers suffer from complications related to chronic neck and back pain. Not only do drivers often help load and unload heavy cargo, but they also find themselves sitting for hours on a daily basis. A mixture of inactivity and bad habits will put a lot of extra strain on the body and truckers suffer the consequences. Implementing some of these tips might assist you in making your daily life free from the confines of back pain.
Update your Seat:
As a trucker, you will spend a lot of time in the driver’s seat. Spending a little extra cash on an updated seat can save you a lot of pain in the future. The key is to find the solution that works best for your personal needs.
One option is to add an extra seat pad or a cover with extra padding that will offer your back more support. If you want to get really fancy, they sell seat covers with massage functions that relax your muscles while you drive. Tailbone or hemorrhoid pillows are also great options because they not only improve your posture but they can also help prevent pinched nerves in the pelvic and lower-back regions.
If you are willing to spend a little extra cash, there are specially designed ergonomic trucking seats on the market. These seats, depending on what features you like, can typically cost between $400 and $2,000.
Even if you are strapped for cash-don’t suffer! Try placing a pillow under your butt and at the small of your back. This will improve your posture and will encourage your back to relax into a healthy arch.
Maintaining proper posture is key. Your lower back should be supported against the back of the seat, your shoulders back and in-line with your ears, and your head centered on your shoulders. Even though sitting slouched can be tempting, resist the urge! Remind yourself to sit up until it becomes a habit.
Before getting into the driver’s seat each day, take a moment to adjust your seat. Move it close to the steering wheel and adjust your mirrors so that you have to sit up straight. Take everything out of your back pockets so that your body weight is evenly distributed while you sit.
Stretching and Exercise:
Moving your body often will stretch out your back and prevent injury. Take a few minutes whenever you stop the truck to stretch out. Physical exercises will help maintain your flexibility. Some drivers take up yoga for this purpose. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle can have many benefits, so try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day in addition to your regular stretching. Moving your body when you are off the clock will help compensate for the sedentary work-day.
Some simple exercises that are good for the back include:
- Pelvic Bridge Tilts
- Shoulder Blade Squeezes
- Knee to Check Raises
- Seated Lower Back Rotationals
- Circular Neck Rotations
Listen to Your Body:
Remember to lift heavy things with your legs and not your back. Avoid quick, jerking motions and never push yourself past your capable limits. If something is too heavy, don’t be afraid to ask for help and vice-versa. Notice that something you are doing is causing you physical pain? Stop immediately and reevaluate.
If you already experience back pain, make sure that you stretch regularly if possible and get enough rest. Your body tends to heal itself while you sleep, so get in a comfortable position and relax. Many people also have luck using ice and heat pads to loosen up sore spots on their backs. If the pain is severe, consider seeing a specialist.
* Although this article is intended to give truck drivers tips on preventing back pain while on the job, it is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be treated as such.
Click HERE to read our blog post about prioritizing health as a trucker and click HERE to read about truckers affected by sleep apnea.
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