Long-haul truck drivers sit in one position for extended periods of time, which can lead to physical problems such as lower back pain. According to a survey by the National Institute of Health, over 50% of truck drivers surveyed reported experiencing lower back pain that they believed was a direct result of their occupation.
There are several factors that can influence the level of back pain experienced by truck drivers, as well as certain tips that can be followed to reduce the severity of the pain or eliminate it altogether.
A driver's choice in clothing can affect their comfort level and their ability to be seated correctly behind the wheel. Comfortable and moderately loose-fitting clothing should be worn to enable the driver to make adjustments without being restricted by their attire.
The seat should be adjusted to a nearly upright position and at a distance from the pedals where the knee is not fully extended nor restrained at a nearly 90 degree angle. Seat adjustment has an effect on posture, especially if the seat is too far from the pedals and the steering wheel. Incorrect adjustment can require over-extension of the legs, arms and back, or hunching and slouching of the shoulders and back.
All of these postures exacerbate back pain. Furthermore, an improperly adjusted seat can lead to potential accidents by affecting the reaction times and abilities of the driver.
The body posture of the driver should place him or her where their buttocks and back are squared with the seat and pressed back against it firmly. Avoiding leaning to one side or the other, or arching your upper back and leaning forward against the steering wheel.
To prevent driver fatigue, a long-haul truck driver should also spend a few minutes every few hours walking, stretching and loosening up. This can include simple stretching exercises like side-bends or toe-touches.
Maintaining proper posture isn't just about sitting up straight behind the wheel. The other factors involved can also impact your body's reaction to sitting for extended periods of time, so make sure you use these guidelines to minimize or prevent back pain and injuries.
About the Author
Tami Paulus is the Owner of Mark’s Old Towne Service, a truck repair and service center located in Anaheim off the 55/91/57 freeways. With experienced ASE certified specialists, we help you keep your fleet safe and running on the road. We realize that fleet managers are very busy, which is why we pride ourselves in thorough fleet maintenance service to ensure you save time, money and unneeded hassles.
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