One aspect of being a truck driver that’s very common is back pain. A lot of truck drivers, whether they drive a flatbed truck, tractor-trailer, tow truck, or any truck, really, experience lower back pain because of the nature of the job – getting in and out of the truck, being jolted as you drive, and sitting for long stretches at a time. The back is made up of vertebrae, muscles, discs, nerves… Tweaking or straining one of those things can cause a lot of pain, and oftentimes truckers experience back pain. To help you prevent back pain, here are a few easy tips.
8 ways to manage back pain as a truck driver.
1. Adjust your seat properly and sit with good posture.
It’s important to make sure that your seat is properly adjusted for you. You shouldn’t have to strain to reach the pedals or steering wheel, and you shouldn’t be scrunched up in your seat either.
- The back of your knees shouldn’t be pressing into the edge of your seat – there should be only the slightest pressure on the back of your leg.
- Your entire back should rest against the seat.
- You should be able to reach out and hold the steering wheel comfortably.
It might be an oft-repeated phrase, but sitting up straight can help you avoid back pain. If you slouch or hunch yourself over the wheel, the discs in your back can shift and move out of the spots they’re supposed to be in. So, if you properly adjust your seat and sit up straight and tall, you avoid squashing the discs in your back.
2. Stretch frequently and take breaks.
Give yourself plenty of breaks so you can walk around to gently stretch your muscles. This can help release some of the pressure and tension that builds within your muscles as you drive. By taking some time to walk around and take a break, you can help your back feel better. But be sure to be gentle if you do stretches – don’t overdo it! Listen to your body.
3. Get some exercise.
Doing light exercise can help strengthen your core and back muscles. That can help you avoid pain from driving all day. But again, you don’t want to overdo it or overly stress your body. Talk to your doctor about creating an exercise regimen that will work for you.
4. Eat well and drink plenty of water.
What you eat can have a big effect on how you feel. Your body can heal itself more effectively if you eat healthily. And you can also avoid back pain by maintaining a healthy weight. It’s also really important to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is an essential way to stay healthy – and prevent pain.
A good rule to follow is to drink one cup of water for every hour on the road.
5. Switch up your position in the seat.
It can help to make a small change to the way you’re sitting every once in a while. That can relieve strain on your body.
6. Adjust your mirrors.
It’s important to check that your mirrors are positioned properly. You shouldn’t have to twist your neck or strain to see your mirrors. Your neck and spine are very sensitive, and you don’t want to tweak them as you try to glance in your side mirror.
7. Be very careful if you have to do any lifting.
If you’re ever in a situation where you have to lift anything heavy or awkward, you have to protect your back. For truck drivers, lifting is risky because oftentimes you’re lifting after you’ve been driving for a long time. Your muscles haven’t had the chance to loosen up.
To lift heavy loads, use your legs and not your back or waist. Your legs are strong and can better handle the weight of the load. Also, keep your elbows tucked close to your body. This will prevent you from accidentally taking all the weight on your arms and spine.
8. Relax your grip on the steering wheel.
Of course, you need to keep control of your vehicle. Your truck is huge. But you might not want to hold the wheel too tight for a long period of time. That can cause you some pain.
Avoiding back pain can help you be comfortable, alert, and happy on the job. It helps you be able to drive defensively by scanning for danger, creating a plan to avoid the danger, and acting on that plan. It’s hard to be 100% when you’re in pain, so we hope the above tips help you manage your back pain.
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