Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 5, 2016
Truck and semi drivers often drive long hours or through the night to get their fleet to the destination on time. Their job can take them to some pretty interesting destinations, but it can also take a severe toll on their spine. You may be confined to a desk at your job, but at least you can stand up and walk around when you’re feeling stiff. Truck drivers don’t always have that luxury, especially if they are behind schedule or if the next rest stop isn’t for 50 miles. Today, we’re going to share some tips to help semi drivers and anyone who is confined to a vehicle for extended periods keep their spine healthy while on the road. Keeping your spine healthy as a professional truck driver is no easy task, but it becomes easier if you keep these tips in mind.
Practice Good Posture
No matter where you’re sitting, be it at a desk, in a car or on an airplane, if you have to sit for an extended period, you’ll naturally begin to slouch. Leaning forward or reclining the seat a bit my give the illusion of comfort, put it’s only going to serve to put pressure on other internal structures. Sitting upright and keeping your head positioned over your shoulders is a great way to avoid overstressing your spine. Every 10-15 minutes, perform a self-check to see if your spine is in alignment.
Invest in Padding or Cushioning
If you’re struggling to keep your spine aligned, or if the hard seat is putting a lot of pressure on your lower spine, invest in a seat cushion or spine support device. These supports will push your spine into alignment and help disperse your weight so your lumbar spine and tailbone aren’t overloaded. A small pillow or cushion will do wonders for your spine.
As we mentioned above, finding time to take a break and stretch your legs can be difficult if you’re on a tight deadline. If you can find the time, even if it’s just for five minutes, try to find a rest stop where you can pull over and walk around. Getting your blood pumping will ensure healthy, oxygenated blood reaches all the structures in your spine.
Stretching is an important aspect of the truck driving life that often gets overlooked. We’re not talking about stretching your legs by walking into the gas station after five hours on the road, we’re talking about good, meaningful stretches. Before you get in your truck, do 5-10 minutes of solid stretching, starting with your neck and shoulders before working your way through your trunk, legs and feet. Do the same when you’re done with your shift or every time you have to fill up the gas tank. These concentrated stretches do wonders for ligaments and muscle groups that are forced into a contracted state for hours on end.
Eat a Healthy Diet
This is another aspect of trucking life that is easier said than done. Not only are you often tempted by regional flavors that usually aren’t the healthiest options, many truck drivers like to grab something quick and get back on the road, which means they often rely on fast food. A poor diet can lead to painful inflammation in the spine, along with a host of other problems. Try to work some fresh fruits and vegetables into your meal planning. You can still sample the local cuisine, just remember to hit your food groups and avoid heavy, calorie-dense meals.