A 2006 study conducted by a team of researchers in Brazil found that back pain is a common problem for truck drivers.
The scientists interviewed 410 truckers. 242 truckers (or approximately 59% of the group) said they experience back pain. Breaking the numbers down even further:
- 31.2% said they experienced back pain occasionally
- 18% said they experienced back pain constantly
- 9.8% said they had experienced back pain at some point during their careers
Sitting in one position for hours at a time puts pressure on your spine, vertebral discs, and musculoskeletal structure. Combined, these factors often result in pain, stiffness, and general discomfort. Can you relate? If so, there are several things you can do to feel better. Start with these three recommendations:
1.) Take frequent breaks. When you’re hauling a load, it’s tempting to get to your destination as fast as possible. After all, the quicker you arrive, the quicker you can take on a new assignment. However, it’s important to give your joints, muscles and connective tissue frequent breaks. Standing up, stretching and walking around can increase blood flow, ease tightness and prevent cramping. Try taking a break every two hours at least. If your pain is persistent, more frequent stops may be necessary.
2.) Invest in a lumbar pillow. If you don’t already have a lumbar pillow in the cab of your truck, now is the perfect time to take action. Lumbar pillows are small and rectangular. They bridge the gap between your back and the driver’s seat helping you maintain good posture. In addition, they provide extra support for your lower back and neck.
3.) Take everything out of your pockets. If you keep your wallet or smartphone in your back pocket, you’re more likely to experience leg, back or hip pain. When you sit on top of something, it pinches your sciatic nerve and puts your pelvis and spine in an abnormal position.
These are only a few of the many things you can do to prevent back and neck pain while on the road. It’s also a good idea to sit up straight, with your ear lobes over your shoulders, and to pack an emergency kit with over-the-counter pain medication or a pain-relieving ointment like Icy Hot.
By following these tips, you can stay productive and pain-free. Happy driving!