We all know that driving a truck, especially on long cross-country hauls can cause great strains on the lower back. Long hours of sitting behind the wheel can be exhausting.
Now according to a new Canadian study more than 60 percent of truck drivers are reporting experiencing musculoskeletal (MSD) pain and discomfort, particularly low back pain, on the job. The authors of the study, who are public health researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada believe that the truck driving profession presents a variety of risk factors that contribute to the development of MSD’s. Truck driving involves things such as lifting, awkward postures, prolonged sitting, whole body vibration, and the performance of repetitive tasks.
In Canada, some large carriers are trying to address these problems by adopting programs. These programs take a holistic approach to driver wellness, including reducing vibration exposures through improved seating, modifying workloads and physical tasks, and promoting overall wellness through physical activity and healthy eating. Though these programs are being adopted by some companies, the recommendation is that more are needed.
But while some carriers are being proactive with these new programs there are still plenty that aren’t, and so drivers must make every effort to prevent back pain on their own. There are some basic suggestions that can help with this issue.
Adjusting your seat can give you better posture while driving and that helps prevent back pain. Having your seat adjusted properly can help you avoid the temptation to slouch as you drive. Slouching is not good for your back. You need to have your seat set so that you can comfortably reach the pedals and steering wheel. As you’re driving, your legs are working to push the pedals, but you can’t set both feet firm on the floor like you can when you’re sitting normally.
Adjust your mirrors is also important. Well adjusted mirrors will keep you from straining and twisting your neck. Make sure to check your mirrors before setting out on trips.
Make sure to take stretch when you take breaks. Gently stretching your muscles can help relieve some of the tension that builds in your back.