When you drive a truck professionally, you do a lot of sitting. To the uninitiated, a sitting-related health warning may seem a step removed from “it’s not healthy for you to nap too much,” but there are real health issues that can arise from sitting in a big rig, burning down the highways day after day.
Sitting upright puts a lot of pressure on your back. Sitting upright in an enormous vibrating, bouncing vehicle for hours at a time can be downright destructive. And once you begin developing back pain, every day you only make it worse if you don’t address the issue.
And you know yourself, right? You’re going to just ignore the pain, maybe throw a little ibuprofen down, and keep going. What you’re doing there is simply masking the pain, and making things worse for you.
Luckily, you have resources. The Healthy Back Institute is a group dedicated to reducing back pain in truck drivers. The group says truck drivers are one of the top five at-risk professions when it comes to back pain, particularly lower back pain.
To help combat that back pain, the Healthy Back Institute offers tips and suggestions for truckers looking to prevent or treat the early onset of back pain. By staying educated, going through a series of stretches and exercises, and remaining connected to your resources, you can
For example, Healthy Back Institute co-founder Steve Hefferon created this back-pain prevention video to help prevent back pain. Hefferon notes that chronic pain often comes from muscle imbalances that pull and push parts of your body into unnatural position. When, for example, you sit for a long period of time, your glutes will weaken, while your hip flexors and upper leg muscles tighten. This pulls your pelvis into an abnormal position, causing problems over time.
In the video Hefferon demonstrates an array of simple stretches and exercises that can help keep your muscles strengthening those muscles and keeping those muscles from atrophying. Offering tips for people of different body types, Hefferon suggests performing the exercises and stretches in a way comfortable to you,
The key, Hefferon says, is simply reminding your body to work those muscles. The exercises can improve strength, but it’s the activity that is key. He suggests a frequency and number of reps for each exercise is up to the individual. Exercise to your tolerance, he cautions, so that you don’t strain or injure yourself.
By doing these exercises, you can help your body stay balanced and, in just a few minutes each day, combating lower back pain can be simple and effective, without interrupting only a small portion of your day.
But hey, it’s certainly better than chronic pain interrupting every single work day you have. For truck drivers, health is of crucial importance, and anything you can do to keep it up is a strategy worth trying.