The role of a truck driver is unique in various respects. Firstly, many truckers are required to spend extended periods away from their homes and families, essentially living inside their vehicles while on the road. Secondly, truck driving is a highly solitary profession (with the exception of team drivers). Truckers often find themselves alone in the cab for a significant portion of their time, leading to a potential sense of isolation and loneliness.
However, one often overlooked yet crucial aspect of trucking that sets it apart from other professions is the requirement for drivers to remain seated in the same position for hours and hours.
Jobs that require sitting for prolonged periods of time are known to be unhealthy and damaging to the muscles and joints. That is also the case with truck driving. According to studies, approximately 59% of truckers experience low back pain at some point, which is most frequently a direct consequence of having a sedentary job. If you are one of them, learn about some tips to stop or, at least, mitigate the pain:
1. Adjust your seat, wheel, and mirrors
The first step toward a correct posture and better balance is to adjust your vehicle’s interior so that you don’t have to lean back or forward. This will help you keep your back straight and avoid unnecessary straining.
2. Stretch and exercise frequently
Regular exercise can alleviate back pain and strengthen your back muscles, a particularly crucial aspect for truckers who also help with loading and unloading. However, it is essential to be cautious and avoid pushing yourself too hard initially, as placing excessive strain on your back all at once can just make the pain worse.
3. Get a seat cushion
Seat cushions are designed to help you maintain good posture. For a relatively cheap price, you can get a seat cushion and relieve the pressure from your neck, spine, and hips, as well as improve your blood circulation.
4. Take frequent breaks
Trucking involves covering vast distances across the continent, and it's entirely understandable why truckers wouldn't want to procrastinate and risk missing their appointments. However, there's always enough time to take a 20-minute break every couple of hours and go for a short walk. This will help relieve muscle stiffness after a tiring day behind the wheel.
5. Lift things carefully
While truckers are typically not responsible for loading and unloading cargo, there are instances where they may be required to assist and lift heavy objects occasionally. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to lift while maintaining a correct posture — keep your back straight and utilize your legs to power the lift.
6. Use cruise control
Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a steady speed without the need to consistently adjust the accelerator pedal. This can reduce the frequency of repetitive leg movements and help alleviate strain on the lower back. Also, with cruise control engaged, drivers can maintain a more consistent sitting posture. This can be beneficial for spinal health, as a stable and ergonomic driving position can reduce the risk of developing back pain.
7. If the pain persists, consult with a doctor
While the previously mentioned tips can help truck drivers relieve back pain to some extent, they may not be sufficient to completely eliminate it. If you find that the back pain is becoming unbearable, impacting your mood and professional performance, it is recommended to consult a medical professional. They will likely prescribe specific painkillers and offer more nuanced advice.
Truckers, Take Care of Your Health
In the fast-paced world of freight transportation, it's easy to overlook the importance of personal health. Long hours on the road, irregular schedules, and the demands of the job can take a toll on your health. Therefore, we strongly advise all our truck drivers to prioritize self-care and pay attention to their physical and mental well-being above everything else.
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