Every job has its pros and cons, which also applies to truck driving. The main demerit of any trucking job is physical – the discomfort and pain that often come with the countless hours spent sitting in the cab. Because different parts of a trucker’s body are exposed to various pains, it is important to find safe and effective alternatives for pain management.
Let’s delve further into the more common physical pains a trucker is exposed to and how to manage each safely.
Common Pain Concerns Many Truckers Face
Working in an environment that requires you to sit for long hours has to have some effects on your body. This is the plight of many truckers. Some of the pain concerns include:
● Back and Neck Pain
There is an alarmingly high number of truckers who suffer from back pain. Neck and lower back pain are more common because truckers sit for extended periods. Other causes include using improper lifting techniques and poor posture while driving.
● Wrist Pain
Truckers suffer from wrist and hand pain because of the repetitive and extended pressure applied to their nerves. This discomfort is further exaggerated by keeping the wrist in one position as you drive and many times can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
● Shoulder Pain
Driving for long hours puts truckers at risk of shoulder pains and irritations, including bicep tendonitis and rotator cuff injuries.● Headaches
Truck drivers can experience severe headaches due to tension on the nerves at the base of their skull. Tension can be created by a number of factors including the daily task of managing the road safely.
Luckily, all these pains are manageable and treatable with the right methods.
How to Manage Pain While Working Long Hours
We have already established that a trucker is more susceptible to various pains due to the nature of their work. That is why they need to find ways to manage the pain before taking medication. The few things they can include in their daily routine to help with different pains include:
● Lumbar Support Pillow
Investing in a good quality lumbar support pillow will go a long way in preventing the dreaded back pain. Truckers can couple this with a good seat cushion to enhance comfort and promote good posture.
● Mirror Positioning
Truckers that ensure their mirrors are positioned correctly are less likely to suffer from neck strain. Chiltern Health Centre suggests all drivers should “…stretch yourself up and make your spine as tall as possible sitting in an ideal posture. Set the rearview mirror so you can just about see the traffic behind you. This will help to correct your posture every time you look in your rearview mirror, because if you slouch you will not be able to use the rearview mirror.” Mirror positioning is a simple solution to managing core, back, and neck pain.
● Wrist Braces and Stretches
By wearing a wrist brace, truckers can ensure their wrist is not in one position for too long. The other great way is to stretch the hand and wrist regularly. Flexion stretches, lifts, and hand squeezes done frequently have also proven to alleviate wrist discomfort.
● Taking Regular Breaks and Sleep
Sometimes, acting before it strikes is the best way to prevent pain. Truckers who take breaks, make the most of their down time, focus on getting good rest and stretching can help release built-up tension. Adequate rest is crucial in pain management, especially for truckers. Sleeping on a mattress and pillow that provides extra support to the neck, spine, and legs is also advisable.
Safe Alternatives for Pain Management
It is always a good idea to try pain management methods with fewer side effects. Here are some safer alternatives for pain relief that truckers can use:
A few stretches before and after driving around for hours can do wonders in keeping pain in check. Truckers are advised to try different forms of exercise to reduce pain incidences. Some workouts drivers can try include stretching, bending, and pelvic lifts. Be sure not to overexert with the exercises because it could lead to more damage.
● Ice and Heat Packs
A simple yet highly effective pain management alternative is using ice and heat before and after a shift. Physicians recommend that truckers place cold packs on sore areas after a shift to soothe the nerves and reduce irritations. Afterward, they can put a heat pack to relax the affected area.
● Pain Relievers
Truckers can sometimes do all the right exercises and preventative measures but still fall short in managing their body aches. It is wise to try different pain-relieving medications to see which works best for you. You can use topical creams and gels, which work by penetrating the skin. Truckers can use THC-free CBD oil for even faster pain relief, which works better and has longer-lasting effects.
Being pain-free can be a reality for truckers if they adhere to the recommendations listed above. However, in the event self-administered care does not produce adequate results, it is recommended drivers pursue advice from a doctor. Free teleheath options are available that truckers can consider.