You’d think that if you’re not straining your muscles, lifting heavy objects, or performing some demanding athletics that push you to your limit, you should be fine. After all, if you’re just sitting, you’re relaxing, right? Why should this cause back pain?
Most sitting positions—especially in a truck that is shaking and vibrating—put your body into a posture that is not all that healthy. Your back is bent in a “C” posture that actually puts a strain on certain muscles and ligaments. If you were just watching a movie this way for an hour or two, it wouldn’t be so problematic, but if you’re driving for hours at a time like this, for days, this really begins to add up for your back. This can eventually result in not just back pain, but neck pain and even leg pain if your circulation starts to get affected.
The combination of long hours of sitting punctuated by periods of loading and unloading heavy goods makes long-haul trucking one of the highest-risk occupations for musculoskeletal injuries. In fact, those injuries occur nearly four times more often among long-haul truck drivers than among other workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To get out of pain you not only need to stretch the affected muscles but you need to start regaining the movements of your spine that have been locked down from hours, days, and years of over the road driving. You also need to start strengthening the hips and glutes. These are some of the muscle groups that are weak when you have back pain, and by strengthening them you can take a lot of the pressure off of your lower back. Follow the routine below and you'll be on the road to a pain free life.
Do the following exercises one time through with the goal of doing them every day.
- Figure four stretch- Hold for 15 deep breaths.
- Standing or sitting hamstring stretch- Hold for 10 deep breaths each side
- Pigeon stretch- Hold for 10 breaths each side
- Twist stretch- Hold for 10 breaths each side
- Clamshells- 10 repetitions each side
- Glute thrusts- 10 repetitions each side with a 1 second pause hold at the top
- Thoracic rotations- 10 rotations per side