Every job has its health risks–some more than others. However, one thing years of treating back pain has taught me is this is even more true for professional drivers.
Due to the nature of what they do, drivers who generate significant mileage run the risk of incurring several serious health complications, and in almost every instance these conditions are back-related. Of course, part of the reason is that sitting for long periods of time has been linked to chronic lower back pain. However, add uncomfortable vehicle seating and poor posture and the potential for back injury skyrockets.
So, if you’re a driver looking to avoid back problems, here are a few items to incorporate into your daily routine.
Who Can Benefit from this Information?
Before going into the techniques, let’s first take a look at who this information can help.Everyone who drives for an extended period should learn at least some healthy back habits. That said, there are certain categories of drivers who can benefit substantially.
Truck drivers – The first group that stands to benefit from this information is truck drivers. Truck drivers operate heavy vehicles for extended periods of time. Apart from affecting their back and shoulders, their jobs can affect other parts of the body including the hips and the pelvic girdle.
Cab and Uber drivers – The second group that could benefit from these habits, includes taxi and Uber drivers. Indeed, in numerous surveys, the results indicate that up to 3% of cab drivers have mild to severe lower back pain. Indeed, the condition is so commonplace among taxi drivers that back injury is considered an occupational hazard for their profession.
Delivery drivers – Another group that could stand to gain from learning healthy back habits includes delivery and route drivers. Like truck drivers, they sit for extremely long periods of time and are likely to be affected by this, along with the vibrations of their delivery vehicle.
That said, delivery drivers have one advantage that truck and cab drivers do not have; they get in and out of their vehicles much more often than the other two groups, which offers a slight advantage.
Three Ways to Protect Your Back
One of the best ways for drivers to protect their backs is by changing their posture or learning to adopt the right posture. The larger the body’s angle of inclination, the higher the chances of lower back pain. Likewise, slouching on your seat can also affect your back and shoulders. So, as a driver, you should sit up, sit straight and avoid slouching your back as these habits tend to exacerbate the effects of sitting for too long.
The second thing that drivers can do is take regular breaks to walk it off. It is recommended that drivers take one 15-minute break for every two hours of driving. Doing so would allow you to get off your seat and walk around. Another reason this is important is that it can improve your blood circulation, while helping to keep the effects of sitting too long at bay.
One last thing that you can do as a driver is stretch during your quick breaks. Stretching promotes the circulation of blood in the body and has been shown to promote your body’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Now I know, when you’re on the road time is money. But if you’re wondering where you’d find the time to implement any of these strategies; keep in mind that just by taking a few of the steps mentioned above you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in insurance deductibles and chiropractor visits.
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