You lean forward, getting ready to shift into gear, when you notice a sudden, sharp jolt of pain. In a few minutes, tense back muscles start to throb and you have trouble sitting up straight. How are you going to make your delivery on time now?
If this situation sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Back pain is very common for truck drivers. According to a one study with 410 truck drivers, 59% had lower back pain. It can cause persistent aches in your lower back, shoulders or neck, or stiff lumbar muscles that make it hard to move. The good news is that there are several things you can do to soothe your back and prevent future problems. First, you need to understand what causes truck driver back pain.
Why Many Truck Drivers Have Problems with Back Pain
It turns out that repetitive stress injuries aren’t just for workers in factories. They can also affect truck drivers’ back muscles. When muscles are constantly in the same position, day in and day out, they start to get fatigued.
Long-haul trucking often means sitting down for hours on end. Besides that, constant road vibrations can also take their toll on tired muscles. These situations often lead to back pain.
Tips for Reducing Truck Driver Back Pain on the Road
Here are helpful tips that really work for preventing back pain:
Change Your Driving Position
One of the most important things you can do to take care of sore back muscles is to have good posture. You want your back to feel completely comfortable on the road. Your back muscles need to relax.
First, adjust your seat so it’s the right distance from the steering wheel. You shouldn’t have to hunch over or stretch out to reach it. Instead, the wheel should be within an easy, comfortable reach of your arms. Always sit with your back, neck and head fully resting against your seat.
Adjust Your Mirrors
This is another step that lets you drive with good back support. When your mirrors give you a good view of the road, you don’t have to lean forward every time you want to make a lane change on the highway or check for vehicles approaching your truck's blind spot.
Take More Frequent Breaks
We get it — time is money. You may feel tempted to skip rest breaks so you can get to your destination faster. However, letting your back rest doesn’t have to take long. A short, five-minute break with a brisk walk lets your muscles stretch and get out of the monotonous sitting position.
Stretch for a Few Minutes
Take the time to stretch before taking off in the morning. There are stretches designed specifically for professional truck drivers that help you warm up your neck muscles, quads, arms, hamstring and shoulders. You can use your truck to support you while you bend your back and knees. These short exercises help your back deal with long drives.
Drop Your Accessories
While you’re driving, take objects out of your pockets. You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes on your back when you don’t have a thick wallet in your pocket. The same thing goes for your smartphone and other items.
Invest in Great Seat Cushions
At home, one of the best ways to spend your money is buying a comfy mattress. In your truck, your back will thank you for investing in high-quality seat cushions. Ergonomic seating does wonders for your neck and back.
Long-Term Truck Driver Back Pain Relief
Preventing back pain effectively may require a few lifestyle changes. For example, losing weight makes a huge difference in back health since back muscles have less to carry. It’s true that eating healthy and exercising regularly are a challenge when you’re on the road for days at a time, but they’re worth the effort. Taking great care of your health keeps you on the road, making money, for years.
Set a goal of exercising for 15-30 minutes several times a week. If you experience strong pain, don’t try to push through it or hide it with painkillers. Visit a doctor to discover how to get rid of the underlying cause instead. With long-lasting truck driver back pain relief, going to work is much more enjoyable.