By Steve Hefferon, CMT, CPRS
A survey we ran a few years ago showed trucking is one of the top five professions at risk of back pain.
Besides the heavy lifting required of many drivers as they load and unload cargo, hours of full-body vibration while sitting behind the wheel of a big rig for hours at a time increase the risk of lower back pain for truckers.
That’s why one of the most important tasks truckers should make part of their driving routine is a short 2-minute break before hitting the road and at every stop to stretch out tight muscles and build up weakened glutes.
In today’s video, I’ll explain why your body is at higher risk of back pain from driving, then show you specific stretching and strengthening exercises I’d like you to do to your tolerance during those short stretch breaks. Do them faithfully and you’ll avoid back pain and stay on the road longer. Then don’t miss my truck driver back pain prevention checklist below the video.
Truck Driver Back Pain Prevention
Work out muscle imbalances
Everyone has muscle imbalances and we’ve found they’re the number one cause of back pain. The stretching and strengthening exercises I showed you in the video will help the most common postural dysfunctions caused by sitting in the cab of your truck all day long. For a comprehensive program to identify your own specific imbalances and eliminate them, check out our Lose the Back Pain System.
The jelly-like center of the spinal discs between each of your vertebrae are composed of about 70% water. Throughout the day, water is squeezed out of these discs as they work to support and protect your spine causing them to shrink. By the end of the day, you can lose as much as 3/4 of an inch in height — answering the mystery of why you seem to need to readjust your mirror every morning before hitting the road. Drinking enough water during the day ensures your body has it available to soak back into the discs while you sleep at night. A good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water for every hour on the road.
Use a back support cushion
The cab of your truck may be home away from home for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfectly suited for how you sit. Most cabs are designed for the “average” 6-foot tall driver, but you need to make sure your seat gives you the right support to protect your back from unnecessary stress. Consider using a seat cushion or back support to ensure the right support and a more comfortable ride.
Consider a colon cleanse
Driving over the road doesn’t lend itself well to great nutrition and dietary habits. You can and probably should make an improvement here with a concentrated effort to plan ahead for better meals and snacks, but the easiest way to get things kicked off in the right direction is with a colon cleanse. If you’re already experiencing back pain, you might find a colon cleanse will help relieve the pain.
2-minute stretch breaks
Don’t forget to take a couple minutes to repeat the exercises I showed you in the video to your own tolerance. Do them before you hit the road and again at each stop.
Our #1 Recommendation for Truckers with Back Pain - The Freedom Back (ergonomic back support cushion)