Chronic back pain is often the result of your profession. According to one small study, 59% of truck drivers experience low back pain.
So, why do so many truck drivers suffer from chronic pain? Mix long hours in the driver’s seat with a body part designed to be in motion, and you have the perfect recipe for pain. Physical activity actually helps stimulate healing in the spine. It causes the discs in your spine to swell with water and then squeeze out. This process exchanges nutrients between the discs and the rest of your spine. When you aren’t regularly active, your spinal discs are deprived of the nutrients they need to function properly, resulting in back pain.
Common Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Over the years, we’ve noticed that the most common form of back pain for truckers is compression of the joints. This is largely due to the lack of movement mentioned above from so many hours on the open road.
The second most common cause of back pain is sciatica. This also occurs due to lack of movement and prolonged time in the seated position. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of your leg. When it’s pinched, it can cause pain to radiate up and down your legs and back.
Preventing Chronic Back Pain
Luckily, there are certain measures truck drivers can take to help ward off back pain.
Truck drivers should try to plan more short breaks in their routes and spend a good portion of those breaks stretching their spine. The muscles surrounding your spine are just like any other muscle in the body, they become tighter the longer they aren’t utilized.
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One stretch you can do from the driver’s seat while parked is a simple spine twist. While facing forward, slowly twist your torso to the left, bringing your right hand around to grip the left side of your seat. When you feel a gentle stretch in your back, hold for ten seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Get Regular Exercise
Even when truckers aren’t out on the road, it’s a good idea to incorporate more movement and stretching into their daily routine. Regularly practicing yoga is great exercise and can help maintain a strong, healthy spine.
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Bring Your Own Support
Even the comfiest car seat can cause back pain over time. Car seats aren’t always designed ergonomically. If your driver’s seat lacks lumbar support, place a rolled blanket or lumbar pillow between your back and the seat to support the natural inward curve of your lower back.
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