Contributed by Dr. Anna Altair
Whether you are a truck driver or not, most people have probably experienced that nagging, awful ache at the base your back. It never seems to go away and sitting in the same constrained position for long periods of time only makes it worse. The ache can also be an effect of heavy lifting or strained movements, which are daily occurrences for most truck drivers.
These factors make truck drivers the perfect candidates for the pain. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from back pain, and truckers make up a massive amount of the group. It should come as no surprise that a recent study revealed truck driving as one of the top five occupations to cause back pain. The popular health issue is costing the trucking industry millions of dollars and leading many truckers to give up on their careers. The good news is that there are several things you can do to lessen the risk of injury.
MAKE STRETCHING A HABIT
Doing routine stretches every day isn’t just for gymnasts and track stars. Any person at any age or physical shape can benefit from doing stretches. The consistent, vibrating movements that truck drivers experience on a daily basis causes the muscles to tighten over time. These important muscles have to be loosened every day to prevent serious injury.
One of the best moves is to put one foot on the step of the truck and stretch the back leg in the lunge position. Bend the front knee and hold for about 20 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
ADJUST THE SEAT
Generally, truckers who are around 6 feet tall fit best in the driver’s seat.
Those who are shorter or taller will need to make minor adjustments. Bad posture is what slowly moves back discs out of their normal position. A seat with the right adjustments makes good posture easy.
The back of the knee should barely touch the seat edge. This will remove any possibility of pressure that can reduce blood flow. The steering wheel should be an easy reach. Any sort of stretch to hold the wheel causes strain. Moving the mirrors in positions that don’t require much turning and twisting will also make a big difference.
EAT NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Truckers who are overweight have a much harder time keeping back pain under control than healthy ones.
Bad nutrition makes the healing process nearly impossible. Having lean snacks on-board like trail mix, fruit, and beef jerky will go a long way. Staying hydrated is also a factor.
Truckers should down at least one glass of water for every hour behind the wheel.
If you experience any symptoms such as back ache or pain in the wrists, shoulder, hip, knee, or neck, consult your doctor of chiropractic.
In addition to helping you examine your ergonomic risk factors, your doctor of chiropractic can help you alleviate the symptoms with hands-on treatment, dietary changes, and other techniques that do not require medication.