Is It Common for Truck Drivers to Have Back Problems?
Truck drivers suffer from chronic back pain and other back problems more than other drivers due to the time spent hunched behind the wheel driving over long distances for prolonged periods.
According to the National Library of Medicine, in reference to several cross-sectional studies which were conducted worldwide, 60% of truck drivers in the U.K., 59% in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 73.5% in India, and 88.7% of truck drivers in Dares Salaam, Tanzania complain of lower back pain.
In this article, we will discuss whether it is common for all truckers to have back problems, the common causes of back pain for truck drivers, and how to prevent it.
If you suffer from back pain and believe that your occupation has caused this, consult with attorneys for injured truckers to have all of your questions answered.
Chronic Back Pain and Truck Driving
Chronic pain is a condition that persists for three months or more and can affect various parts of the body, including the muscles, joints, and nerves. Various factors, including injury, inflammation, nerve damage, or a chronic illness, can cause it.
Truck driving requires individuals to spend long hours behind the wheel, often in uncomfortable positions. This can lead to chronic pain in various body parts, including the neck, back, shoulders, and hips.
Truck drivers may be at risk for other health conditions contributing to chronic pain, such as obesity, diabetes, and sleep apnea. These conditions can cause inflammation and stress in the joints and muscles, leading to chronic pain.
Pain management techniques such as physical therapy, massage, and medication may be necessary to help manage chronic pain and improve quality of life.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Before diving into the specific causes that may lead to back pain for a truck driver, it is essential to understand what causes lower back pain.
Lower back pain can result from many factors, such as poor posture, weak muscles, and injuries. Other common causes of chronic back pain include:
- Herniated or bulging discs: The soft tissue between your vertebrae pushes out of place and irritates the nerves nearby.
- Spinal stenosis: A condition where the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
- Osteoarthritis: The cartilage in your joints wears down, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Spondylolisthesis: One vertebra slips out of place onto the vertebra below it, leading to pain and nerve compression.
- Sciatica: The sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs, becomes compressed or irritated, leading to pain and numbness in the legs.
Common Causes of Back Pain for Truck Drivers
Truck driving involves long hours of sitting and driving, which can lead to several common causes of back pain for truck drivers. These include:
- Poor posture while sitting or driving: Slouching or sitting in awkward positions while driving leads to strain on the lower back muscles and spine.
- Excessive use of the lower back muscles: Activities such as loading and unloading cargo can significantly strain the lower back muscles.
- Vibration and jarring: Driving a truck on uneven roads or bumpy terrain can cause constant vibrations that transfer to the driver’s body, leading to muscle fatigue and pain.
- Prolonged sitting: Sitting for long periods in the same position without breaks puts significant pressure on the back muscles and spinal discs. Truck drivers face this daily, leading to stiffness and tightness in the lower back muscles.
Other Factors Exacerbating Lower Back Pain in Truck Drivers
The following factors can exacerbate existing injuries or conditions and lead to back pain for truck drivers:
- Lack of exercise: Long hours on the road without access to gyms or other exercise facilities can lead to weak muscles, including the lower back muscles.
- Poor diet: Maintaining a healthy diet while on the road is difficult. Poor nutrition can contribute to back pain by reducing the body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy muscle tissue.
- Stress: Driving for long hours and dealing with traffic can also contribute to back pain by increasing muscle tension and reducing blood flow to the muscles.
Truck Drivers’ Neck Pain
Truck drivers may also experience neck and shoulder pain often from sitting in a fixed position for long periods, which leads to muscle tension and strain in the neck and upper back.
Neck pain can also result from poor postures, such as hunching over the steering wheel.
How to Prevent Back Pain While Driving a Truck
Preventing back and neck injuries in truck drivers requires a combination of simple adjustments and strategies, which include:
- Good posture: Sit in your seat with your back straight, and your shoulders relaxed, and try to avoid staying in one seated position. Adjust your seat and steering wheel to ensure you maintain proper posture while driving and have maximal lumbar support for pain relief.
- Taking breaks: Take breaks every couple of hours to stretch and move around. Stretching can help alleviate muscle stiffness and fatigue.
- Regular exercise: Incorporate exercises that strengthen your core and lower back muscles, such as yoga or pilates, into your daily routine. This can help improve your posture and reduce the risk of back pain.
- Eating a healthy diet: A healthy, balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy muscle tissue.
- Using proper lifting techniques: When loading or unloading cargo, use proper lifting techniques to avoid strain on your back muscles.
- Getting a good night’s sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for your body to repair and maintain healthy muscle tissue.
How Hurt Trucker Attorneys Can Help
Truckers often complain about back and neck pain and recognize that this is an occupational hazard that needs to be managed. We continuously assist truckers with legal issues and trucker workers’ compensation claims.
At Hurt Trucker Attorneys, we are concerned with all truckers’ health and well-being and hope you find this information helpful.
Our team is here if you need advice regarding injuries resulting from your work, whether from an accident or occupational hazard, or about trucking and your back.
Call us to schedule an initial consultation today!