Back and neck pain are extremely common issues for truck drivers to experience. In this article I’m going to show you 3 exercises for truck drivers to prevent back and neck pain. Back and neck pain are so common because the amount of hours that drivers have to spend seated in their truck as well as the constant vibration from the road. This extended time spent in one position really wears on the body. Our bodies are meant to be active and to move around frequently. This just is not possible for most truck drivers to do. When our bodies stay in one position for too long our muscles and joints adapt to this. Muscles that are in an elongated position want to stay that way, while the muscles in the shortened position want to stay shortened. Furthermore the joints become used to not moving as well. All of this results in the body becoming more prone to becoming injured when outside forces, that the body is not prepared for, are applied. These outside forces can be as simple as just walking or they could be more complex like having to lift heavy objects. As I already talked about the best way to prevent this and help the body avoid injury is to stay mobile. When you can’t stay mobile and active because of your job then you need to implement a self care routine.
The exercises that I am going to show you are all self-mobilization exercises. They are similar to what you might experience when going to a chiropractor. The goal with these exercises is to keep the joints moving throughout their normal range of motion and keep the muscles surrounding the joints loose. This can help to keep the body more mobile and ready to adapt to the tasks that it is asked to perform. The great thing about these movements is they can be performed almost anywhere. That likely includes inside a truck cabin.
You should seek clearance before performing these maneuvers on your own. As long as you are careful with them the risks are minimal, but don’t over do the amount of rotation and if there’s intense, sharp, or radiating pain that may be an indication to stop.
Neck Self-Mobilization for Truck Drivers
To perform this maneuver grab yourself a normal bath towel. Fold it up so that it stays long but becomes less wide. Then just sling the towel over your neck. Next pick a direction to go in. I’ll start to the right. First grab the towel. Right hand grabs the left side of the towel and left hand grabs the right side. Right hand should be over the left. Now rotate your neck as far as it will comfortably go to the right side. Then pull down on the towel using your left hand . Use your right hand to pull the other side of the towel across the side of your neck/head. Gently use the right hand to increase the amount of rotation you get to the right side. Hold for 10 seconds. Gently let off this position and return to your normally rotated position. Now keep the towel taught but gently rotate your head against the towel. Don’t let the towel or your neck move. Hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence 3-5 times. Then do it to the left as well. It may not be exactly the same as an adjustment but the end results can be similar. Sometimes your neck will even crack while doing this maneuver.
I generally recommend my patients do this exercise at least once per day. Its best to seek clearance before performing this on your own.
Midback Self-Mobilization For Truck Drivers
To perform a midback self-mobilization maneuver grab your object. Place it on a firm surface that you can lay on. Then simply lay on top of the object. Usually you want the object just below your shoulder blades. Then lean back and extend your arms. Hold this position for 30 seconds at a time. Repeat 3-5 times.
For my mid back pain patients I recommend they do this exercise at least once per day. Its best to seek clearance before performing this on your own.
Low back Self-Mobilization For Truck Drivers
To perform this maneuver find yourself a surface that you are able to lay at the edge of. A bed is usually the best place to perform this maneuver but it can be performed on the ground as well. Lay on your right side with the left side up. Bend your left leg while keeping your right leg straight. Let the left knee start to hang down over the edge. This is where you can use a dowel rod if you have one. Place it into that crevice between your top and bottom leg. Now with your torso lean back so your left shoulder becomes closer to the surface that you are laying on. Place your left hand on the area that is tight in your low back and the right hand on either your knee or the dowel rod. Gently push forward with the left hand and downward with the right hand until you feel a decent stretch through the low back. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Gently let off this position and return to your normally rotated position.Now if you are using a dowel keep the pressure on the dowel somewhat taught. While you try and rotate your hips to the left side. Be very gentle with this rotation. Your lower body shouldn’t move, it is just pushing against the dowel. This is difficult to perform without the dowel and can be skipped. Hold that contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence 3-5 times. Then do it on the other side as well.
Implementing These Exercises for Truck Drivers
Implementation is the most important part of the process. Try to incorporate these exercises into your daily work routine. Just once a day whenever you make a stop to fuel up or load up would be a good time to just take an extra few minutes run through these exercises and help your body to remain pain free so you can continue your driving.
– This article is generously provided by guest writer for the First Aid Occupational Health blog Dr. Alex Tauberg. Dr. Tauberg is the owBack Painer of Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation and performs CDL DOT Physical Exams in Pittsburgh.
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