When you haul a load and suddenly you feel a lower back muscle throbbing, you may start searching for tips on how to prevent back pain for truck drivers.
Due to prolonged sitting, upper and lower back pain are two of the most common health complaints among professional truck drivers.
This fact is supported by many studies made between truck drivers.
It's an annoying issue because it causes persistent aches in the lower back, shoulders, neck, or the lumber muscles making it hard to stay focused on the road while sitting in the driver's seat.
Below, find simple solutions to preventing back pain for truck drivers.
1. Maintain proper poster while driving
- Ensure that your truck's seat is adjusted properly. The seat's height and angle should provide you with a comfortable and upright sitting position.
- Your feet should reach the pedals without overextending your legs while your knees should slightly bend.
- Place your feet flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs, as this can disrupt your posture and blood flow.
- Sit with your back pressed against the backrest of the seat. Make sure your entire back is supported.
- The steering wheel should be comfortable enough to reach out and hold.
- Hold the steering wheel with your hands at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions to minimize strain on your arms, shoulders, and upper back.
- Avoid gripping the steering wheel too tightly, which can lead to tension in your shoulders and neck.
- The back of your knee should be just above the edge of the seat, not squeezing into the seat.
- Adjust the headrest, seat, and mirrors before getting going.
2. Adjust your mirrors
- Properly adjust your side and rearview mirrors to minimize the need for excessive twisting or turning of your body to see behind or around you.
3. Use lumbar support
- If your truck's seat has built-in lumbar support, use it. If not, consider using a small seat cushion or a lumbar roll to support the natural curve of your lower back.
- You can also simply use a cushion or a rolled-up towel.
4. Maintain a neutral spine
- Keep your spine in a natural, slightly curved position. Avoid slouching or arching your back.
- Try to sit up straight and keep your head in line with your spine.
5. During breaks stretch and exercise
While on the road, it’s easy to skip short breaks, especially with tight appointment or deadline.
But make time for short breaks at rest stops or truck stops whenever possible.
During these breaks or at traffic stops, take a moment to loosen up your muscles by stretch and exercise your legs or back. Simple stretches and exercises, like shoulder rolls and back extensions, can help alleviate stiffness.
6. Stretch to loosen you back muscle
Below are two quick and easy lower back stretches:
- Back extensions: Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your lower back with your elbows sticking out. Slowly lean back, hold that stretch for a few seconds and then return to your upright position. Repeat as necessary.
- Knees to chest: Stand on the ground and place one foot at a 90 degree angle using the outside step of your truck. Lean forward onto that knee. You should feel a hamstring and lower back stretch in the leg that is grounded. Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds, then switch feet and repeat.
- Spine twist: 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.
- Don't overdo it: You have to be gentle when you stretch. If you feel a tight muscle, don't rush it because you can hurt it like that.
- Knee drops: Assume the same position as before with the knees together. Drop both knees to the right side of the body, keeping shoulders flat. Rotate the hips and return to the starting position. Continue with the other side and always remain aligned when turning.
7. Infuse exercising routines during the breaks
- As an act of preventative care, staying active can decrease risks of back pain.
- Physical activity can be stretching, jogging or walking. While walking, practice heel-to-toe steps while keeping the shoulders, neck, hips and back aligned.
- You can do some yoga moves.
- Regularly practicing yoga is great exercise and can help maintain a strong, healthy spine.
- Avoid overdoing your exercises or push yourself too hard. Know your body and its limits. And remember that any exercise you’re able to accomplish is better than doing nothing.
8. Be mindful of vibrations and shocks
- Long hours on the road can expose you to vibrations and shocks. Ensure your truck's suspension system is in good condition, and consider using shock-absorbing floor mats to reduce the impact on your spine.
9. Maintain a healthy weight
- Excess weight can contribute to back pain. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Maintaining a proper weight is also one of the main healthy tip for truck drivers.